The Pirates were robbed!!!!
The Pittsburgh Pirates, that is.
Last night and into this morning, the Bucs and the Atlanta Braves played for 19 innings. Of course, all things must come to an end. But like this?
Let me set the scene. Braves pitcher Scott Proctor hits a groundball to Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez who throws the ball home. Bucs catcher Mike McKenry tags out Braves infielder Julio Lugo at home. It wasn’t even close. Lugo was barely in the batter’s box when McKenry tagged him. But home plate umpire Jerry Meals called Lugo safe. Needless to say, McKenry, Pirates reliever Daniel McCutchen (who ended up taking the loss), Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle and all of Allegheny County were livid. Braves win 4-3.
There would be no Armando Galarraga around to smile on this night. But then again Jerry Meals is no Jim Joyce. While Joyce tearfully admitted his mistake, Meals said he might have got the call the wrong. Sounds kind of mealy-mouthed to me.
The long and the short of it is that the Pirates fall into third place in the NL Central a half game behind the Milwaukee Brewers and a game behind the St. Louis Cardinals. So what’s done is done. But as the old saying goes what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger. The question here is whether this incident sinks the Pirates 2011 ship or if they will rally and find the means to swashbuckle their way to the NL Central title.
A final thought. I am sure a lot of Red Sox fans who do not have fond memories of Julio Lugo’s 2½ seasons here in Boston are probably asking themselves, “Is Lugo is still playing in the majors?” David Schoenfield at ESPN confirms the Lugo sighting for us in Red Sox Nation.
UPDATE: The Pirates have filed a formal complaint with the MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. Not that anything will come of it. Although there’s no guarantee the Bucs would have won the game if Lugo had been called out nevertheless this game could loom large if the Pirates end up finishing the season a game out of first place.
UPDATE II: Meals now admits he made the wrong call. Nevertheless, what’s done is done. The call stands. So let’s see where the Pirates go from here.