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Posts Tagged ‘Kansas City Royals’

Every time an umpire blows a significant call, there is the usual clamoring for instant replay. However, even that fail safe proved insufficient in the last night’s game between the Yankees and Royals.

Joe Girardi and Dana DeMuth discuss Billy Butler's disputed home run (Photo: Getty Images).

The controversy started in the bottom of the third inning when Royals’ DH Billy Butler lined a Bartolo Colon fastball off the top of the left field wall. However, the umpires signaled home run, which allowed Butler to circle the bases even as the ball was being thrown to third base. Almost immediately, Joe Girardi bolted from the dugout to ask for a replay review. The umpires, led by crew chief Dana DeMuth, obliged Girardi’s request, but, in spite of the clear visual evidence, still decided to uphold the original call (interestingly, on June 1, Butler was involved in a similar situation when he was incorrectly awarded with a walk-off home run despite replays clearly showing the ball did not go over the same left field wall).

After the game, Steve Palmero, the supervisor of umpires, was seen taking the game’s crew on a field trip to inspect the infamous fence, an action that immediately suggested DeMuth had misinterpreted the relevant ground rule. Although it should offer no consolation to the Yankees, Joe Torre, MLB’s executive vice president of Baseball Operations, eventually confirmed that the umpires erred, telling the Daily News that “it was a missed call, but there was also a misunderstanding on the rule”.

As things turned out, Colon retired the next two batters in the inning, so, all else being equal, Butler would not have scored without the erroneous decision. The fact that the Yankees lost by one run only compounded the error, but even if the deficit had been a larger margin, the impact on the game would have been the same: the Royals were given a run they should not have had. Once the umpires decided to uphold their initial mistake, manager Joe Girardi could no longer contest the call, leaving him with only one option: lodge a formal protest.

The Yankees’ dugout was visibly upset after DeMuth refused to reverse the call. Even the stoic Mariano Rivera had to be restrained by Tony Pena. Despite this strong emotion, and the insistence of first base coach Mick Kelleher, who was present when the ground rules were reviewed, Girardi forfeited his only chance at vindication by deciding not to protest the game.

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As the Yankees were busy losing their sixth consecutive game last night, Kansas City Royals’ right hander Vin Mazzaro was in the midst of a nightmarish relief appearance. The confluence of events was fitting because less than one week earlier, the Yankees’ skid was started with Mazzaro on the mound. In that 3-2 extra inning loss, the slumping Bombers were unable to take advantage of 10 base runners in only four innings against the Royals’ righty. After surrendering 14 earned runs during last night’s game in Cleveland, however, it seems as if Mazzaro’s luck finally ran out.

Howard Ehmke surrendered 16 earned runs in a game against the Yankees in 1923.

Beyond its karmic link to their losing streak, last night’s historical futility has several other connections to the Yankees. The last time a pitcher surrendered as many earned runs in one game, it was the Bronx Bombers parading around the bases. On August 3, 1998, Mike Oquist was the victim of the onslaught as the Yankees pounded out 16 hits, four homeruns and 14 earned runs against the Athletics’ right hander.

The Yankees were also responsible for the worst outing in major league history, at least according to total earned runs allowed. On September 28, 1923, the Red Sox’ Howard Ehmke, who had won his 20th game only two starts earlier, was tagged for 17 runs, 16 of which were earned. In the outburst, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig combined for nine hits and seven RBIs, so at least Ehmke fell victim to some brand names.

Speaking of brand names, the list of 19 pitchers who have surrendered at least 14 earned runs in one outing (since 1919) is headlined by one of the greatest pitchers ever. In the first game of a doubleheader on August 26, 1938, a 19-year old fire-baller named Bob Feller was upended by Joe DiMaggio’s Bronx Bombers. The Yankee Clipper himself did most of the damage, knocking in seven of the 15 earned runs surrendered by Feller, who still managed to last seven innings despite allowing 24 base runners.

Considering the Yankees’ prominent role in so many of these epic pitching failures, Mazzaro should have had his meltdown five days earlier. And, based on his performance that night, he may have been trying. Lately, however, the Yankees have been very generous to opposing pitchers. Unfortunately for Mazzaro, the Cleveland Indians weren’t as kind.

Pitchers Who Have Surrendered 14 or More Earned Runs, Since 1919

Player Date Tm Opp Rslt IP H R ER BB HR
Vin Mazzaro 5/16/2011 KCR CLE L 1-19 2.1 11 14 14 3 1
Mike Oquist 8/3/1998 OAK NYY L 1-14 5 16 14 14 3 4
Bill Travers 8/14/1977 MIL CLE L 5-14 7.2 18 14 14 4 2
Al Jurisich 6/28/1947 PHI NYG L 6-14 8 16 14 14 6 3
Les McCrabb 4/16/1942 PHA BOS L 4-19 4 14 14 14 2 2
Chubby Dean 9/28/1940 PHA BOS L 4-16 8 19 16 14 5 1
Carl Doyle 6/8/1940 BRO CIN L 2-23 4 16 14 14 4 1
Bob Feller 8/26/1938 CLE NYY L 9-15 7 15 15 15 9 2
Jim Walkup 7/25/1937 SLB WSH L 5-15 8 16 14 14 5 1
Hod Lisenbee 9/11/1936 PHA CHW L 2-17 8 26 17 14 4 2
Slick Castleman 6/9/1936 NYG CIN L 4-15 8 18 15 15 3 1
Flint Rhem 8/4/1933 PHI NYG L 1-18 8 21 16 15 3 0
Dutch Schesler 7/11/1931 PHI NYG L 5-23 8 22 16 14 0 4
Johnny Miljus 7/25/1929 CLE PHA L 3-21 3 13 14 14 3 3
Hugh McQuillan 9/11/1927 BSN CIN L 5-16 6.2 17 16 15 3 1
Nelson Greene 6/20/1925 BRO PIT L 5-21 6.2 18 15 15 3 3
Ted Lyons 7/21/1924 CHW WSH L 2-16 8 18 16 14 5 0
Howard Ehmke 9/28/1923 BOS NYY L 4-24 6 21 17 16 4 2
Win Noyes 9/5/1919 PHA BOS L 7-15 7 22 15 15 2 1

Source: Baseball-reference.com

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