Umpire Phil Cuzzi’s Blown Call on Joe Mauer Fly Ball Helped Give Yankees Win
Friday’s ALDS Game 2 had to be excruciating to watch for a Twins fan. They had opportunity after opportunity to put the Yankees away and couldn’t do it. Even with all their blown chances, a bad call by the umpire down the left field line in the top of the 11th cost them a run. Joe Mauer sliced a ball down the line that bounced in fair territory and hopped out of play. What should have been a ground rule double wound up being called a foul ball. Mauer wound up singling up the middle. Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer followed with singles, the latter of which would have scored Mauer at the least. Granted, Mark Teixeira delivered in a big way with the walk off home run to win it in the bottom half, but that should have only tied it. You figure with the middle of the lineup to follow they could have scored more but you never know — the Twins pitching held them down well.
It really was meant to be for the Yankees in Game 2. The Twins had them on the ropes after scoring twice in the 8th to go up 3-1, and they even scored a run off Rivera for some insurance. Alex Rodriguez broke his Yankee postseason curse with a 2-run home run to tie it in the 9th off Joe Nathan and send it to extras, that was after he had singled in the 6th to tie it at 1. It really is amazing that they pulled it off and that the Twins blew it so badly. Things really broke well for the Yankees — they look like a World Series team through two playoff games. Scary.
Lastly, why do third base coaches play it so conservatively like the Twins did, holding up Mauer no the Cuddyer single that loaded the bases? Why not force the defense to make the play? Why take the chance? I’ve seen teams squander opportunities by holding up their runners when they have the chance to score. It’s not as if Mauer can’t run well. Bad call.
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