Alex Rios Error overturned: Why the hit mattered for Ortiz


May 9, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Yu Darvish (11) tips his hat to the crows after giving up his only hit and being relieved in the ninth inning against Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz (not pictured) at Global Life Park in Arlington. The Rangers beat the Red Sox 8-0. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Last week Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish took another no-hitter / perfect game bid deep into the game.  This time it was against David Ortiz and the defending World Series champions the Boston Red Sox.

Bid for perfection: During the series opener, Darvish was pitching a perfect game until the 7th inning with outs when David Ortiz hit a routine fly ball to center-right.  Rougned Odor and Alex Rios both ran to field the ball but allowed it to drop between them.  Rios and Odor said they had a hard time communicating to catch the fly ball because the crowd noise was loud, which resulted in Odor not backing off the play to allow Rios to field the ball.

After the play, no one knew if the no-hitter was intact for several minutes.  The official scorer (Steve Weller) checked with the Elias Sports Bureau and the rule book and determined it was an error.   Every Rangers fan, Alex Rios and every other Ranger was probably hoping for the play to be ruled an error, probably a first for everyone.

Why was it ruled an error: The official scorer used MLB rule 10.12 (a) (1).

"“The official scorer shall charge an outfielder with an error if such outfielder allows a flyball to drop to the ground if, in the official scorer’s judgment, an outfielder at that position making ordinary effort would have caught such flyball.”"

Watch the error by Alex Rios and Rougned Odor (Rios was charged with the error – E9)

Marwin Gonzalezed: Yes, that’s now a term.  How can it not be after taking two games down to the last out for a no-hitter?  This time it was David Ortiz, who was probably a little angry about not getting a hit in the 7th inning.  After that hit, Yu Darvish was pulled from the game meaning he will again not pitch a perfect game, no-hitter or complete game.  Darvish has been on the edge several time, he will eventually get a no-hitter.

Big Papi appeals the error: Shortly after the game David Ortiz made an appeal to Major League baseball to have the error overturned and ruled a hit.  To me, this wasn’t a surprise at all.  Ortiz did say that if the game was a no-hitter, he wouldn’t have appealed the error.  He would have just left it as an error and move on.

Why did Ortiz appeal:  This wasn’t the first time that David Ortiz has had comments or complaints about the official scorer.  Back on August 3, 2011 when the Red Sox were playing the Cleveland Indians.  In the first inning, with runners at second and third, Ortiz hit a fly ball to left field in which the left-fielder bobbled the ball.  Both runners were able to advance and score on the play which then gave Ortiz a total of 70 RBI.   The official scored ruled that since the outfielder bobbled the ball, Kevin Youkilis, who was on second, had only made it to home plate because of the bobble.

Watching the replay, it does seem like the ball was hit deep enough to score both runners even if the ball wasn’t bobbled.

Watch the play here 8/4/2011 Red Sox vs. Cleveland Indians

One thing from that ruling was the official scorer (Chaz Scoggins) noted that the third base coach had told Youkilis to stop, until he saw the bobbled ball.  The scorer said that was the key factor in the ruling.  Still, that wasn’t good enough for Ortiz.  The next day during Terry Francona‘s press conference, Ortiz interrupted it with his displeasure.

"Ortiz said “I’m [bleeping] pissed. We need to have a talk, you and me” before the manager and designated hitter agreed to talk about things at a more appropriate time. Then Ortiz gave away exactly what was bothering him when he muttered “[Bleepin’] scorekeeper always [bleepin’] [bleep] up.” (Rant Sports – Alastair Ingram)"

Why was he upset: The reason Ortiz was so upset was because when a scorer rules close calls that way and takes either a run, RBI, hit or anything away from a player, it impacts their incentives.  David Ortiz remembered that one year he was one away from hitting his incentives a few years ago.  He didn’t want that to happen again back in 2011 and it could be argued he doesn’t want to miss out on an incentive again this year.

So it does make sense the reason David Ortiz wanted the call reversed.  Yes, it might seem a little selfish, but it does mean that other players, espeically those who don’t make as much as David Ortiz could appeal a call and have the same results.  At least it appears that if Yu Darvish did get the final out, he wouldn’t have ruined the no-hitter for him and allowed Darvish to meet his incentives.  No-hitter is much more important than a single hit.