We’ve already seen an umpire grant a batter four strikes earlier this month. Now, we have a batter gifted a walk after only three balls.
The latest mishap occurred in the ninth inning of Monday night’s game between the Mariners and Angels. With Seattle batting in a tie game, Carlos Santana was at-bat with one out and a runner on first base. After the first pitch missed low in the dirt, Santana took the next two, which home plate umpire Laz Diaz can be seen signaling as strikes in the game’s broadcast. Following another pitch in the dirt, Santana steps out and asks Diaz what the count is, to which Diaz holds up his fingers to signal 3–1.
After taking another pitch in the dirt, Santana gets awarded first base, causing much confusion in the broadcast booth.
The error proved to be consequential, as the Mariners wound up scoring four runs in the inning to eventually win, 6–2. The Angels didn’t help themselves, either, making several fielding blunders to open the floodgates for a nightmarish end to what had been, to that point, a competitive contest.
After the game, Diaz copped to his miscue, saying “I messed that up.” He also said that, had the Angels made a stronger objection, he would have checked with the rest of the umpire crew or gone to a video replay review, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.
As the Angels proved with their ninth inning performance, they don’t need any help finding new ways to lose. But on Monday, they certainly received an assist in reaching a new low in what’s been a mess of a season.
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