The Boston Red Sox’s series finale against the Tampa Bay Rays turned into a total mess Wednesday at Tropicana Field.
The bizarre, frustrating and confusing scene unfolded in the eighth inning of the Rays’ eventual 3-2 win. Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash wanted to maximize his matchup opportunities, so he actually removed one of his pitchers — Adam Kolarek — and put him at first base. The idea was the left-handed Kolarek would return to the mound to get Rafael Devers after Chaz Roe pitched to the right-handed Mookie Betts.
Roe got Betts to fly out to left field, and Cash shuffled his lineup to get Kolarek back to the mound. That, of course, is oversimplifying the entire situation, as Red Sox manager Alex Cora informally protested the move. Cora never seemed to get an answer he liked over the course of about 20 minutes before officially playing the rest of the game under protest. The protest had to do with how the Rays’ batting order would look after the Kolarek/Roe swap, with Cora and the Red Sox contending Tampa Bay should lose its designated hitter.
The debate comes down to whether Angel Hernandez appropriately carried out the designated hitter rule.
And after the game, the controversial umpire spoke with a pool reporter.
For those of you wondering, here is Rule 5:10.b:
So, really, it seems like Hernandez took what should have been a simple explanation and turned it into a 20-minute ordeal.
Thumbnail photo via Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports Images