The strike three call on Red Sox catcher Kevin Plawecki was a major storyline after Boston’s 5-3 walk-off loss to the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday given the gravity of the moment, but those on the home team’s broadcast didn’t pay it any mind.
“Struck him out!,” one analyst said on the Bally Sports broadcast, failing to note how the pitch from Collin McHugh was well below the zone. “Plawecki spikes the helmet, he just got tossed. … Alex Cora tossed!”
Plawecki, at the plate with bases loaded in the sixth inning and the game tied 3-all, was rung up on a 3-2 pitch, an incorrect call by home plate umpire Adam Beck. Plawecki and Cora each were told to hit the showers after having a colorful conversation with Beck.
The NESN broadcast featuring Dave O’Brien and Dennis Eckersley had a vastly different reaction than that of Bally Sports, and for good reason.
“Strike three on a pitch that was not a strike,” O’Brien said on NESN. “That was ball four. … Well, that was a horrible call! The umpire actually has had a good night until now, but he cost the Red Sox a run.”
Eckersley added: “Out of no where he calls strike three, he hasn’t made a call like that all night. … That is a huge call!”
The strikeout would later prompt a brief chuckle from Braves broadcasters while discussing the walk-off win.
Cora had a rational answer when asked about it after the defeat.
“At that point, it’s not frustration,” Cora told reporters. “Frustration was probably three days ago in Boston. That one, yeah. This one was just protecting your player and not agreeing with the call. There’s a lot of pitches — that’s a tough job, we understand that. Sometimes we agree with them, sometimes we don’t, and tonight I didn’t agree with them.”
The Red Sox have time to cool off a bit with an off day Thursday before heading to Texas for a three-game set with the Rangers starting Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET following an hour of pregame coverage, and you can watch it on NESN.