The situation: Yankees 3, Red Sox 2, top of the ninth, bases loaded, one out, David Ortiz facing Andrew Miller with a 3-1 count. Miller threw a slider that appeared to cross up catcher Brian McCann, who stabbed at the late-breaking pitch. Ortiz took it. Plate ump Ron Kulpa called strike two, and Ortiz stomped around in anger and manager John Farrell was ejected. Then Miller threw another slider. Ortiz took it for strike three and nearly pulled a George Brett, initially returning to the helmet rack but then charging back onto the field after Kulpa; it took several teammates to restrain him. Farrell even returned to the field, which probably means a nice fine for him.
Here's the 3-2 pitch:
The pitch to David Ortiz: pic.twitter.com/Q3lQFpGpaP— David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield) May 7, 2016
Miller then struck out Hanley Ramirez swinging and the Yankees survived with a much-needed win. Red Sox fans blamed Kulpa. Yankees fans called Ortiz a crybaby. Statheads everywhere demanded robot umps. Everyone seemed to forget that the Red Sox left 12 runners on base, so ultimately they missed on too many scoring opportunities, bad calls or not.
Red Sox should bill Kulpa for their entire roster's game checks tonight.— OverTheMonster (@OverTheMonster) May 7, 2016
"He would have needed a hockey stick for the 3-2 pitch," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) May 7, 2016
congratulations to david ortiz for ensuring that he will retire as baseball's biggest entitled crybaby with tonight's temper tantrum— cGlzcw== (@allsenseaside) May 7, 2016
The 3-1 pitch that crossed up McCann was also a borderline pitch, right on the outside corner at the knees. Could have gone either way. Ortiz probably gets that pitch at Fenway Park. To add fuel to the Red Sox's fire, Kulpa rung up Ramirez in the eighth inning with this third strike:
Red Sox also upset at this called third strike on Hanley Ramirez in the eighth inning: pic.twitter.com/aQoRaBCXnh— David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield) May 7, 2016
So, good times, and certainly legitimate gripes from the Boston side. One thing about Big Papi, who homered earlier in the game: The man still has a deep passion for the game. Is he also a champion whiner? Sure, but that's part of what makes him Big Papi; he's not without his warts. But you never avert your eyes when he's up. He's one of the most engaging -- and one of the best -- players of this generation.
And that was a really bad call.