This is utterly ridiculous in every possible way. Umpire Greg Gibson may have even misunderstood the rules here in order to help the Los Angeles Angels to a 4-3 win over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday evening. A win that gave them a two-game lead in the division.
Without getting too much into MLB’s Oxford-sized rulebook, check out the video below.
Gibson’s crew ruled that A’s obstucted Erick Aybar’s path to first base and awarded him the bag. This came in the bottom of the ninth inning of a 3-3 game between the two best teams in baseball.
Ultimately, the Angels wouldn’t score the game-winning run that inning.
However, Oakland would be forced to use multiple pitchers and face a couple more Angels batters that inning. Both of which could have come into play the following inning when Los Angeles scored the winning run on a Howie Kendrick sacrifice fly.
By virtue of this call, the A’s were forced to face the heart of the Angels order in the bottom of the 10th. In addition to this, lefty reliever Fernando Abad may have been available to face the left-handed hitting Josh Hamilton in the 10th.
A’s manager Bob Melvin protested the play on the spot. And the A’s may very well have reason to believe that the league office will uphold the protest.
Jeremy Koo of Athletics Nation provides full details of MLB’s rule book and what it might mean for the protest.
While unlikely that the league office will uphold the appeal, it’s rather obvious that the Angels were handed an unfair advantage in this all-important game.
If MLB does decide to uphold the appeal, it would be the second time this month that it has taken such a rare step. Remember, the San Francisco Giants protest of a rain-shortened loss to the Chicago Cubs was upheld earlier in August. That represented the first time that a protest has been granted in MLB since 1986.