The Boston Red Sox were on the cusp of taking the series against the Los Angeles Angels pretty much the entirety of Wednesday’s eventual loss, but a call in the sixth inning could have changed the outcome of the game.
Christian Vázquez was at the plate with runners on first and second and one out. The catcher grounded out to David Fletcher, who threw the ball to José Iglesias for the out at second. But Iglesias appeared to miss the bag completely as he threw over to first to complete the double play.
Christian Arroyo protested the call and remained on second before manager Alex Cora signaled for a challenge. After a review, the umpires declared Iglesias did indeed make the out and the inning came to a close.
Cora revealed his feelings on the call after the game.
“There’s no more neighborhood play,” Cora said over Zoom. “I know he’s good at short, he makes great plays and has some great footwork. But the angles that I saw, I didn’t agree with (second base umpire) Alfonso (Marquez). Obviously, he’s closer than me. It was going to be second and third and two outs. I didn’t agree with the call, but he’s closer than me, so he had a better view.”
Cora was referring to the longstanding umpire practice of granting the fielding team an out if their defender is in the “neighborhood” of the base, but not actually touching it. This unwritten rule was abandoned when instant replay was established.
Arroyo, who probably had a better view of it than any of us, believed he was safe.
“From my angle, I was close to it, it didn’t look like he got it,” he told reporters. “That’s a big point in the game. What am I supposed to do? If I see something that can give us a chance to keep the inning rolling, then why would I not say something?”
We can’t play the “what if” game, but it’s certainly worth wondering if the Red Sox would have won yet another series had the call been overturned.