Umpires Officially Are Screwing the Angels in ALCS vs. Yankees

Mike Napoli Tags Posada, Cano
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Either the umpires here in the playoffs are screwing the Angels or they’ve been instructed to give the Yankees as many calls as possible. The horrible calls to go the way of New York in the playoffs started in the division series with Phil Cuzzi calling Joe Mauer’s double down the left field line a foul ball when it wasn’t even a close call. That was pretty darn egregious. Then it continued in I believe Game 2 of the ALCS when the second base umpire didn’t give Erick Aybar the phantom tag at second when he was trying to turn a double-play. Yes I’ll admit that Aybar never tagged the bag but that’s never been an issue for umps — it’s always been accepted. Unfortunately that call was only small potatoes compared to the two horrendously blown calls by the umps in Game 4.

In the top of the 4th, Scott Kazmir tried to pick off Nick Swisher at second with a spin move. The throw from Kazmir to Aybar was spot on and they easily had Swisher, no doubt about it. Swisher was called safe and he later advanced to third after Jeter was walked to load up the bases. The Yankees should have gone up 4-0 on Johnny Damon’s fly out to left field but the Angels appealed that Swisher left third base early and the umpires gave them the call, ending the inning (see the images at The Replacement Refs via Deadspin). If that wasn’t a makeup call I don’t know what is. Then the very next inning the umpires were up to their same tricks and this might have been the absolute worst call of the series.

Nick Swisher Picked off

In the top of the 5th, the Yankees had Jorge Posada on third and Robinson Cano on second with one out. Nick Swisher hit a grounder to Darren Oliver who threw home, getting Posada caught in a rundown. Mike Napoli chased Posada back to third and tagged both Posada and Cano out (Cano had headed towards third). For some unknown reason, the third base umpire called Posada out and Cano safe. Yankee fans will point to the fact that no runs were scored because of this mistake so it doesn’t matter. Problem is every extra out you give a lineup like the Yankees will kill you. What’s better to start an inning, Melky, Jeter and Damon or Jeter, Damon, and Teixeira? It’s a huge difference when you’re talking playoff baseball.

The Yankees are so good and playing so well they would probably advance to the World Series regardless. Facing CC Sabathia and that murderer’s row is tough enough as is; the Angels shouldn’t also have to overcome the umpires. This is embarrassing.

Umpire Phil Cuzzi’s Blown Call on Joe Mauer Fly Ball Helped Give Yankees Win

Joe Mauer fly ball ruled foul by Phil Cuzzi

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.

Photo Credit: Getty Images