Tuesday, November 30

The Giants’ season ends with a brutal check-swing in NLDS Game 5 against the Dodgers


The Giants and Dodgers delivered a classic in Game 5 of the NLDS.

But this classic did not get the ending it deserved. Instead of the game ending with a flyout, grounder or something, Giants first baseman Wilmer Flores was called up on a Strike 3 check-swing against Max Scherzer. First base umpire Gabe Morales ruled on appeal that Flores flipped.

Here is the swing in question:

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Yeah, it doesn’t look like it went that way.

It was a quick decision by Morales. According to the 2021 MLB rules, “the field umpires should be alerted to the plate umpire’s request and respond promptly.”

And according MLB Reviewable Plays List, a marked swing is not in the list of calls that can be viewed on video.

(Fake images)

“I mean, obviously, you don’t want a game to end that way. I know these guys work really hard to make the right decision,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said after the game. “Obviously it’s going to be frustrating to have an endgame like this. A very good quality hitter at the plate who can get back on that count (Flores was 0-2 behind). No guarantee of success at the end of the at – bat.

“Especially right now, there’s no need to be angry about it. I just think it’s a disappointing way to end. There are other reasons we didn’t win today’s baseball game. That was just the last decision of the game.”

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There were certainly other reasons the Giants lost. They were 0 of 5 with runners in scoring position and they left six runners on base. The offense was limited to one run and six hits in nine innings at home in a winner-take-all game.

But Kapler is also right that he took the bat from Flores in a critical situation. Flores is a notoriously difficult hitter to strike out – he had a 12.8 percent strikeout rate during the regular season – and has been productive with two strikes this year. According to Stathead, he ranked 20th in the majors with a .662 OPS in two-strike counts this season (minimum 200 at-bats) and seven of his 18 home runs came with two strikes.

On the other hand, Scherzer has been nearly impossible to come back with two strikes. Among pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched, Scherzer’s .397 OPS allowed hitters on two-strike counts was the fourth-lowest in the majors in 2021. according to Stathead.

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Of course, Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger wasn’t about to complain. “The referee said it was a swing, so it was a swing,” Bellinger told reporter Lauren Shehadi on the TBS broadcast.

And there was a certain irony in the result for the Dodgers. On July 22, Giants outfielder Darin Ruf made what should have been a game-ending Strike 3, but was ruled on appeal that he held out in time. Ruf walked to force a run and tie the game 3-3. A two-run single by the next hitter, LaMonte Wade, gave the Giants the lead and they ultimately won the game.

The Giants finished the season one game ahead of the Dodgers in the National League West standings.




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