Frustrated Ross: Those pitches weren't strikes

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Frustrated Ross: Those pitches weren't strikes

BOSTON With two outs in the ninth and the tying and winning runs on base, Cody Ross struck out to end the Red Sox' 1-0 loss to the Rays Monday.

Of the five pitches Ross saw, he didnt swing at any of them. Perhaps that was because none of them were strikes at least according to video replays.

Home plate umpire Larry Vanover called all five offerings from Rays closer Fernando Rodney 97- and 98-mph fastballs strikes.

I didnt get to see it on video, manager Bobby Valentine said. If Codys not swinging at fastballs, I got to think that theyre not strikes, though.

Ross and Vanover exchanged thoughts, as Ross spiked his helmet on the plate.

Obviously, we disagreed. It happens, Ross said. He thought they were all strikes and I thought they were all balls. Thats just the way it goes sometimes. I havent had a chance to go look at the replay yet. I have no idea. Do you know?

Told that the pitches all looked like balls, Ross, who was 2-for-3, accounting for half the Sox hits in the game, replied:

Well, there you go. Its tough because Im up there battling my butt off, trying to get something going right there in a late situation. Its unacceptable. Im battling. Im bearing down, our whole teams bearing down, and everybody on the field should be bearing down.

Weve been playing this game for so long that you recognize pitches early and you see them out of the hand and you say thats a ball, and it crosses wherever and its called a strike. So Im taught, or Ive taught myself over the years, to take those pitches and not expand my strike zone. Make the pitcher make a mistake. Rodney didnt make a mistake. So, as soon as it comes out of his hand Im in shut-down mode. Im saying, No, thats a ball. The umpire calls Strike. All right, next one, Strike. I see ball, strike. So what are you going to do? Just move on and get them tomorrow.

But that does not diminish his frustration.

Its tough, Ross said. Thats the crazy thing about this game. If Im going up there and striking out every at-bat, Im going to get benched. But its not that way with the umpires. They can make bad calls all day and theyre not going to be held accountable for it. So, its tough. It's such a tough situation. And believe me, Ive umpired before. It's tough. Its hard. But at this level . . . I dont know what to say.

His teammates, though, did.

As far as the end of the game goes, those pitches that were called on Cody, thats just not right, said Adrian Gonzalez. Theyre in the left-handed hitters box and the way I see it is, we missed the playoffs by one game last year, and if he walks there, like he should have, or he swings and gets a hit, we end up winning today, that could make the difference. So those three pitches to Cody, that shouldnt happen.

What do you say to a teammate whos just ended a game in such ignominious fashion?

You cant say anything, Gonzalez said. You look at the video, you look at the over-the-top view and those pitches are in the left-handed batters box and theyre not even close. They dont start close and they dont end close. So its unfortunate for Cody to have to end the game like that.

First impressions: Yankees power their way past Price, Red Sox

First impressions: Yankees power their way past Price, Red Sox

NEW YORK -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 6-4 loss to the Yankees.

 

* As the postseason gets closer, David Price needs to do a better job of keeping the ball in the ballpark.

Price gave up three homers Tuesday night -- a two-run shoot to rookie sensation Gary Sanchez in the first; a solo shot to Didi Gregorius in the sixth; and another two-run belt in the seventh to Tyler Austin.

That's six homers in the last three outings and 29 for the season. It's also the sixth time this season that he's given up multiple homers in the same start, with the three on Tuesday representing a season-high.

Prior to this year, Price had never allowed more than 25 homers in a season. Last season, splitting time between the cavernous Comerica Park in Detroit and the hitter-friendly Rogers Centre, he yielded just 17.

Worse, twice Tuesday the homers came at inauspicious times. In the sixth, the Sox had just closed to within one at 3-2; in the seventh, the Sox had worked t tie the game at 4-4.

 

* For all of the offensive brilliance shown by Mookie Betts, it's easy to forget how good he's been in right field.

Anyone who plays in the same outfield with Jackie Bradley Jr. runs the risk of having his defensive play overshadowed and that's likely the case with Betts.

He's played a Gold Glove-caliber right field, showing good range and instincts -- especially for someone who never played the outfield professionally until about 2 1/2 years ago.

And while Bradley has the stronger arm, Betts has 14 assists, including one Tuesday night.

That took place on a ball in which Betts was initially fooled. With one on, Chase Headley lined a ball to right that Betts seemed to lose in the lights. He went to his knees, fighting the lights, and managed to reach back to make the catch, sprawling. He then had the presence of mind to set himself and fire a throw to first, doubling up Starlin Castro for a mind-blowing double play.

 

* Expanded rosters make a mockery of the game.

In the eighth inning, Joe Girardi and John Farrell combined to burn through six players for one plate appearance.

Righty Blake Parker was set to face Aaron Hill, but Farrell had lefty Travis Shaw announced. Girardi then countered by bringing in lefty Richard Bleier to face Shaw.

Of course, Farrell countered by having righty Chris Young hit for Shaw. Young reached on a fielder's choice, and because Young can't play third, Farrell had insert Deven Marrero at third in the bottom of the inning.

Four position players and two pitchers in one spot. That couldn't be done in any other month during the season.

So why is it allowed in September?