ST. PETERSBURG -- The expanded use of replay came into play in the fifth inning of the Tampa Bay Rays 7-3 victory against the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday and it was not the finest moment for the men in blue.
Home plate umpire Paul Schrieber lost track of the balls and strikes during Yunel Escobar’s at-bat. Schrieber had the count at 3-2. The umpires huddled and Schrieber and crew chief Ted Barrett checked the replay.
The replay should have showed Escobar walked. Twins reliever Samuel Deduno threw five pitches that were called ball, foul ball, ball, ball, strike looking.
After the at-bat was reviewed at Major League Baseball’s replay central in New York City, Schreiber and Barrett said the count on the field was correct.
Sun Sports replayed the at-bat and showed the count was not correct.
Major League Baseball issued this statement after the game: “An error was made when replay officials and supervisors mistakenly thought one of the pitches was a foul ball when it was actually a ball.”
The second pitch was actually ball two and strike one, so Escobar was technically batting during a 4-1 count. He looked at the next pitch and was called out on strikes.
Fortunately for the umpire crew, the call did not factor in the outcome.
Still, Rays manager Joe Maddon was puzzled by the botched replay review.
“In theory, by reviewing that, there’s two options: either he struck out or was walked,” Maddon said. “There was no other option that the at-bat would continue.”
The more Maddon talked about it after the game, the more confused he seemed by the umpires’ decision.
“The guys just looked at the video and I’m thinking I must be seeing things or imagining things,” Maddon said. “We just came off a day off. A couple of Guinnesses, I don’t know? It might have messed me up.”