Yet another pitching duel presented itself during the winner-take-all Game 5 of the MLB National League Division Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants.
Of the five games, three of them had four runs or fewer between the two teams.
Additionally, in each game, the loser didn’t score more than two runs.
Clinging to a one-run lead, the Dodgers had already burned their closer, Jansen, in the eighth, so they went with Max Scherzer to close things out.
A Horrible Botched Call
Scherzer nailed his first career save after striking out two in a perfect episode.
The last strikeout, however, was filled with controversy.
Wilmer Flores was in a 0-2 hole against the multiple Cy Young award winner, who threw a slider down and away.
Flores started a swing but interrupted it, forcing first base umpire Gabe Morales to be the judge after being consulted by the home plate umpire.
Morales indicated Flores did swing, thus earning Scherzer the third out of the ninth inning and sealing the Dodgers’ ticket to the NLCS, where they will face the Atlanta Braves.
On live TV, Flores appeared to have held the swing just at the right moment to avoid a swinging strike three.
On the replay, it was evident he was far from swinging: not even close.
Either make everything reviewable or get robot umpires
This is not acceptable
— ꜰᴡꜱ (@FletchWasSafe) October 15, 2021
The Play Is Not Reviewable
The play is not reviewable like, say, safe or out calls, so the Giants didn’t have much option but to accept their fate.
Their frustration, however, is completely understandable, given that Flores not only held his swing, but he was also far from doing it.
That’s how the Dodgers – Giants series, a World Series in advance and the most exciting of the postseason matchups to this point, ended, on a botched call by an umpire.
It’s a sad, unfair ending to an otherwise impressive season by San Francisco.
They won 107 regular season games and, against all odds, took the NL West crown by fending off the 106-win Dodgers.
The two teams were evenly matched in the NLDS.
It’s hard to say whether the Giants would have won if not for Morales’ wrong swing call: had he been correct and ruled it a ball, Flores would have been 1-2 against one of the game’s top strikeout artists.
But we will never know because the call meant the game, and the series, were finished.
Perhaps MLB can implement a rule change for next season to try and avoid these kind of scenarios.
Let’s focus less on Gabe Morales making what’s really a difficult call in real time and focus more on the system that not only makes it his call, but also not reviewable.
Baseball needs a challenge for wayyy more situations.
— Coach Trev (@trevorplouffe) October 15, 2021
For now, though, Giants fans have to endure a bitter taste on their mouths, knowing that a botched call ended their marvelous MLB season.