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You’re not going to believe the call that ended the Rays-Rangers game

Apr 9, 2013, 12:40 AM EDT

Rangers closer Joe Nathan picked up his 300th career save Monday on a pitch that not even he fathomed was a strike.

Rays manager Joe Maddon tweeted immediately afterwards: “That can’t happen in a major league game.”

But it can and did in the Rangers’ 5-4 win over the Rays.

In truth, it wasn’t nearly as bad as A.J. Pierzynski made it look. Not that it was a strike, but when it crossed home plate, it wasn’t all that far down and away. Here’s my best try at a freeze frame from when it crossed the plate and when it was caught:

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So, yeah, it should have been ball four to Zobrist, which would have put the tying run on second with Evan Longoria up at the plate. Instead, it was game over for the Rays and a milestone for Nathan in a shaky outing.

  1. raysfan1 - Apr 9, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    @Bigharold–All 162 games count the same, game 157 is no different than game 7. If they Rays miss the playoffs by 1 game, then it’s a guarantee Rays fans in particular will point back at this game. We will also bring up this game if the Rangers make it in by 1 game, albeit less loudly.

    @hittfamily–try getting my point for a change. Of course the Rays got screwed, and deserved to have Longoria get his chance to win the game. That was actually the point–that this outrageous call will be clearly remembered if it ends up that the Rays miss out on the postseason by one game.

    • bigharold - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:03 AM

      “.. then it’s a guarantee Rays fans in particular will point back at this game.”

      I don’t see it that way at all. First there are 155 games to over come this one bad call. Secondly, in the intervening 155 games I will wager that there be other more grievous plays that go against the Rays, .. it’s a long season. Thirdly, it’s likely during that time that there are number of grievous calls that go in favor of the Rays as well. These things do have a way of balancing themselves out. Fourthly, during the entire season there will be any number of poor plays or miscues by Rays players that will be far more likely to have and adverse effect on the Rays playoff picture. Think about that every time a closer blows a save and loses the game. Lastly, had the call been correct it would have neither tied the game nor put the Rays ahead, .. they were still behind with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Had a correct call resulted in the Rays at least tying the game I would be far more likely to agree with you.

      Sure it was a bad call but even if the Rays don’t make the playoffs by a game it would be nitpicking to look at one poor call in early April. I’m betting there will be far more things to look at.

  2. raysfan1 - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    @Bigharold–
    I agree that if the Rays don’t make it to the playoffs then there will be many other equally or more important reasons for it. I also agree that they will no doubt be on the receiving end of some breaks as well. The point isn’t addressing the reality that ultimately the Rays’ fate is in their own hands still. The point is plays like this do get remembered and dredged up again. I certainly won’t forget it. If they narrowly fail to make the playoffs, this game absolutely will be part of the post mitten as one of the reasons. Hopefully it’ll be moot when my Rays take the division.

    • bigharold - Apr 9, 2013 at 12:23 PM

      You had me right up till; “..Rays take the division.”

      • huffdaddyco - Apr 9, 2013 at 2:37 PM

        Good thing that was the last line then.

      • raysfan1 - Apr 9, 2013 at 11:11 PM

        Yes, pity you aren’t a Rays fan. Oh well, nobody’s perfect!

  3. kw27p - Apr 9, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    MLB should have a challenge flag like NFL. One per game. That would be cool

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