David Ortiz, John Lackey vexed by Red Sox decision not to challenge close play

July 26, 2014 - 8:17 pm

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Ultimately, the Red Sox lost because they did not hit on Saturday night. The team's 3-0 loss to the Rays suggested that preventing Tampa Bay's second run likely would not have meant the difference between victory and defeat. Still, Sox players expressed a degree of dual confusion about one play in the game. In the bottom of the fourth inning, with Yunel Escobar on second base and one out, catcher Christian Vazquez snared a breaking ball in the dirt and fired a missile to second base. His throw appeared to beat Escobar to the bag by plenty, with shortstop Stephen Drew slapping on a tag. Yet Escobar was ruled safe. Manager John Farrell made the slow stroll to second base umpire Marcus Pattillo, and once there, he awaited word from the dugout as to whether or not to challenge the ruling on the field. Farrell elected not to do so. "When we reviewed it internally, it wasn't conclusive," Farrell said after the game. "Where we were at that time of the game, given our history with when we've used the system before, when it's not conclusive, we're not going to risk using the one challenge we have at that moment." Yet upon seeing replays of the play and call, Red Sox players had a different view. "A challenge would have been nice there. Looked like he was pretty out," said Lackey. "I looked at it, he looked pretty out to me. But you'€™re right, sometimes they still don'€™t overturn when it looks pretty -- you never know. We'€™ve had it go both ways this year so, what are you going to do?" David Ortiz was more blunt. "How in the hell didn'€™t we challenge that one? Inconclusive? They played that on TV 20 times. I saw the replay like 20 times on TV. Me and [Shane Victorino] saw it," said Ortiz. "That was [an] out.'€ Ortiz had assumed that the team hadn't challenged because of an earlier review of a scorcher Ortiz hit to right field that was ruled fan interference when a fan gloved it (and appeared to trap it against) atop the yellow line of demarcation for home runs. But that review was actually an umpire review (rather than a managerial challenge); Farrell still had his challenge, but elected not to use it, a fact about which Ortiz seemed surprised. Of course, there are few certainties regarding the outcome of a review. Ortiz felt strongly that his first-inning shot should have been a home run, and remained dismayed that even after the video review, it was ruled a ground-rule double. Ortiz was displeased. '€œThat was a [redacted] homer. That was a home run," said Ortiz. "I don'€™t give a [expurgated] what they say. That was a homer. They [expletived] up on that one right there.

"They say the guy reached over. The guy, he reached over, but the pressure of the ball pulled him down. That ball was going to be over the freaking yellow line over there," he added. "I think that the umpire down the line, he kind of panicked when he saw the right fielder [motioning for interference]. I guess that'€™s what happened. but I watched the whole replay '€“ that was a home run." Here is the controversial play: