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Poll: Did the umpires steal the game or did the Tigers lose it?
To watch the reaction on Twitter, there's a lot of argument on either side.
Let's set it up, first. Tie game in the eighth inning. Two outs. Jhonny Peralta fields a ball and throws high to Ramon Santiago at second in an attempt to get the forceout. Santiago snares the ball but looks like he leapfrogs the bag entirely and never touches it. Safe. Bases loaded. Instant replay appears to show that Santiago's foot actually touched second base, but the umpire appeared to be watching the ball into the glove rather than the foot touch the bag. (Here's a screengrab from Detroit4Lyfe)
I'm not familiar enough with umpire mechanics to interpret if he had a chance to get the call right or if proper mechanics caused him any chance of getting it right. In any case, slow motion replay shows the call was likely missed.
Still two outs. Still a tie. Bases loaded. Peralta fields the ball, throws to first for the force out, and ... pulls Prince Fielder off the bag with another poor throw. Instant replay appeared to show Fielder had the ball in his glove and foot on the bag before he fell off. (Detroit4lyfe has another screen grab here)
Two calls. Both of them could have gone Detroit -- maybe should have. Instead both went to Chicago. 4-3, Cubs. Detroit went down in 1-2-3 fashion in the ninth. Phil Coke got hung with the loss without allowing an earned run while getting batters to hit ground balls. He's the real victim here.
Twitter, and likely people outside of this thing we call the Internet, seems to have fallen into two main camps in reaction:
1) Peralta's throws were poor, but the umps got two calls wrong. So don't blame Peralta, he got the outs.
2) Had Peralta made routine throws, the third out is made and the Tigers have a chance to take a lead in the ninth.
Maybe the bigger picture is that the Tigers, as a team, failed. I'll let David Tokarz's tweet sum it up pretty quickly:
We lost to the Cubs. Because of a pair of throwing errors in the 8th. And an inability to hit one of the worst starters in baseball.— David Tokarz (@tokarzontigers) June 13, 2012
Cubs starter Paul Maholm came into the game playing pretty awful, as Rob detailed in his game preview. Maholm's ERA was 6.51 in the past five starts. Naturally he tied his season-high for strikeouts by the end of the third inning. Maholm finished with seven srikeouts while walking just one in six innings.
So I guess I have to side with the second camp. I've said this all along: When you put a game in the umpire's hands because of your own poor play, don't expect a lot of favors. Pulling your fielders off the bag on back-to-back throws is definitely worthy of some blame. Nearly getting shutout for six innings by an awful National League starter on an awful team is worthy of some blame.
(Beyond that, let us not forget that slow-motion replay also showed Delmon Young was out at second base when he hit his double to lead off the Tigers three-run seventh inning. Chicago could gripe a bit, too.)
My takeaway: The Tigers needed to play better, and the MLB can't get instant replay quickly enough.
Delmon Young -2-for-4
Austin Jackson - 2-run double to tie the game
Ramon Santiago - 1-run pinch-hit single for Detroit's first run
GAME 60 POG
Austin Jackson took the honors