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May 12, 2014

What You Need to Know

Weekend Wrap-Up, 5/12

by Morris Greenberg and Chris Mosch


The Weekend Takeaway
In his first start of the 2013 season, Yu Darvish set the tone for his stellar sophomore campaign with 8 2/3 flawless innings against the Astros. When the 27th batter, Marwin Gonzalez, hit a grounder that turned into a single, the Texas right-hander threw his hands up and couldn’t help but crack a smile.

Last Friday night, Darvish flirted with perfection once again, and after a controversial ruling by the official scorer, he lost a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning for the second time in 14 months. Last year’s Cy Young Award runner-up was dealing from the onset, as he struck out eight of the first 11 batters that he faced and delivered a 98.2-MPH offering—his fastest heater this season—against Jackie Bradley Jr. in the second inning. Darvish made the defending champions look nearly helpless and needed just 76 pitches to get through the first six innings. After inducing a weak lineout to center by Dustin Pedroia and a ground out by Shane Victorino to start the seventh, Darvish started David Ortiz with three fastballs out of the strike zone. With the count at 3-0, Ortiz was looking all the way and took strike one. The next pitch sparked lots of debate and controversy:

With a full overshift on Ortiz, Rangers rookie second baseman Rougned Odor found himself in unfamiliar territory, ranging for a pop fly in right field. Alex Rios admitted after the game that he didn’t call off Odor, and the result was a ball that fell in untouched.

Batted balls that fall in, untouched, are nearly always ruled hits by the official scorer, so controversy naturally arose when Texas official scorer Steve Weller ruled the play an error on Rios.

Weller spent a long time mulling over the call and even called Elias Sports Bureau regarding the ruling. Weller’s ruling falls in line with the MLB’s Rule 10.12(a)(1): “The official scorer shall charge an outfielder with an error if such outfielder allows a fly ball to drop to the ground if, in the official scorer’s judgment, an outfielder at that position making ordinary effort would have caught such fly ball.”

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