Meals admits missing call; replay debate reignites

Meals admits missing call; replay debate reignites
July 30, 2013, 12:00 am
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BOSTON – The Red Sox were fuming -- both when the call was made, and after their 2-1 loss to the Rays was over -- at plate umpire Jerry Meals for calling Daniel Nava out at the plate for the final out of the eighth inning Monday night. And they probably weren't any happier when Meals, after watching the replay, admitted he missed the call.

"What I saw was: [Rays catcher Jose] Molina blocked the plate and Nava's foot lifted,” Meals said. “But in the replays, you could clearly see Nava's foot got under for a split second and then lifted, so I was wrong on my decision. From the angle I had, I did not see his foot get under Molina's shin guard." 

Crucial missed calls such as this -- as Red Sox owner John Henry said on Twitter afterward, Monday night's game represented a two-game swing in the standings; it could very well end up deciding the tight A.L. East race -- renew cries for extending instant replay. There was a difference of opinion in the two locker rooms afterwards . . . but not in the way you'd think.

“I’m a total advocate of instant replay. Absolutely,” said Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon. “[Meals's missed call is] a perfect example where it could have played a difference in tonight’s game. I totally agree with that. I’m not going to disagree with that. Absolutely . . . [We've] had our share of malaprops this year, also, and the other teams are going to get the same thing. So, until that changes we have to wear it.”

“No, no, obviously we like the human element,” Nava said. “There’s certain elements where instant replay’s good and this is just one that most of the time it probably gets called right.  It just went against us. So it’s part of the game. And obviously if you’re on the other side in the other locker room, you don’t really care. But when you’re on this side, you care a little more. So it’s part of the game. But we would obviously love to have that one go our way.” 

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Nava is one of the nicest guys you’ll come across in baseball. But manager John Farrell has been ejected twice this season and both times in plays involving Nava. He got tossed last night after the play at the plate, and was also ejected on June 23 in the eighth inning at Detroit after Nava was charged with a two-base error on a dropped transfer.

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The Sox are 5-5 in their 10 games since the All-Star break, 5-7 in their last 12, and 10-6 against the Rays this season.   It was the Sox’ second loss this season when allowing two or fewer runs or fewer, along with a 2-0 loss on June 14 at Baltimore.

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Sox starting pitchers have held opponents to three or fewer earned runs in 20 of the club’s last 25 games.

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Brandon Snyder hit his second home run of the season, a solo shot in the sixth inning off the Pesky Pole. He is batting .333, going 7-for-21, with two home runs against left-handers this season.

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Koji Uehara threw a perfect ninth inning. He has not allowed an earned run in any of his 13 appearances in July, spanning 13 1/3 innings, giving up a walk with 17 strikeouts, allowing opponents a .111 average (5-for-45). Of the last 31 batters he has faced over his last 10 appearances, only three have reached base. Over his last 23 games since June 10, he is 2-0 with a 0.39 ERA, giving up one earned run in 23 innings, with two walks, 33 strikeouts, and a .104 opponents’ average (8-for-77).

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Jose De La Torre pitched one inning (plus one batter), allowing two base runners and then striking out the next three batters in the 7th. Of his seven outings, four have been against the Rays. He has a 2.25 ERA in those games, allowing two earned runs in eight innings.

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Dustin Pedroia went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Since the All-Star break he is 3-for-39, with no extra-base hits, one run scored, two walks, two RBI, and three strikeouts. In that span his average has fallen from .316 to  .294.

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Left-hander Franklin Morales, on the disabled list since June 23 with a left pectoral muscle strain made his first rehab appearance Monday with Triple-A Pawtucket. Facing the Phillies Lehigh Valley affiliate, Morales went one inning, with three strikeouts.