First, I want to address the Guzman attempting to bunt in the first place, as without him doing so, none of this happens. It has been argued that Guzman should not be bunting, as he is the Padres cleanup hitter. I appreciate the arguments for that, and to a degree, agree with them. You want to give your best hitters the opportunity to hit. However, on the day Guzman had already struck out twice, which normally isn't that high for this team, and has been struggling on the season. With a tie game, no outs, ninth inning situation, a bunt would minimize the chance of a double play. Most of the time. It would move the go-ahead run(s) into scoring position in a way that an out could score a run. It would also prevent the next batter, from grounding into a double play as well. I do not have a problem, in this situation, with the bunt.
Next, Dale Scott, Umpire, threw his arms up in the air, in a fashion that signaled dead ball. I have seen umpires stick there arms OUT when they don't know where the ball is, but this is usually with the arms out, parallel to the ground, elbows close to the hips signaling no play has been made yet. In this case, Dale Scott threw his arms up in the same fashion as a dead ball or foul ball. After the game, Guzman said he heard Scott call audibly, foul ball.
A foul ball was the correct ruling. The ball bounded off Guzman's bat and against him while still in the box. This was a dead ball, foul ball, all runners return to base. After catcher A.J. Ellis threw the ball, Scott then pointed fair. After the game, pool reporter Tony Jackson, of ESPN LA, apparently didn't think of the obvious question- "Why did you initially signal or appear to signal foul ball?" A question Friar fans, and Baseball fans, would like an answer for. And apparently so does manager Bud Black and baserunners Chase Headly and Yonder Alonso:
"There was some confusion for our baserunners," Black said. "I saw the hands go up. Our impression was that it was a foul ball."
"He was waving, not once, but twice. To me, that means it's a 'foul ball.' What are we supposed to do?" Headley said. "From my vantage point, we did what we [baserunners] were supposed to do."
Said Alonso: "I told second base umpire (Angel Campos), 'Hey, he put his hands up,' and he pretty much stayed quiet. He said, 'We'll get it right. We'll get it right.' He was trying to calm me down."
"He didn't explain that one," Black said. "(The arms raised) led to some sort of confusion for our baserunners. The whole play looked funky.
The preceding quotes were taken from articles by Corey Brock on padres.com and Dan Hayes.
It was clearly a game that affected the outcome. If I, in my job as a softball umpire, allowed a play to continue after I initially signaled it was dead, would face consequences, including a suspension or a reduction in games worked. Major League Baseball should be disciplining their umpires, and holding them accountable PUBLICLY!! It threatens the integrity of the game when such a call can happen and never knowing what actions are done to assure that this does not happen again.
Like I said, the call affected the outcome of the game. It did not, however, Determine the outcome of the game. Padres players know as much:
"You can't just think on that play," Alonso said. "That's not fair to the umpires. They're human. You can't fault them for that play. It is what it is. But you really can't take it into consideration because there were a lot of opportunities. None of us here are going to take that game and blame it on somebody. If anything it's on us, we've got to get it done."-- courtesy of Dan Hayes, NCTimes
The Padres did have their chances. What determined the game was bad pitches to great hitters- Matt Kemp again homered against Padres pitching. What determined the game was failure to take advantage of opportunities- 9 men left on base today. What determined the game was allowing the Doyers to load the bases before giving up a 2 out walk off single to .179 hitter Dee Gordon in the bottom of the ninth. Even the call itself could have been rendered moot if the players had ran all the way through assuming it was fair. Bob Scanlan, the analyst on XX1090, stated as much in his blogpost
However, it is a good reminder that to always play under the assumption that any ball is live until it is 100% clear by the umpires that the play has been called dead.The Padres did some things right today. They struck out fewer times then they have in awhile (only 5 Strikeouts- 3 on Guzman, one each on Cameron Maybin and Edinson Volquez) and managed 8 hits against a Kershaw, the most he has ever allowed against the Padres (according to Corey Brock). They never quit, which would have been easy to do against a pitcher that many joked, or even seriously believed, would throw a no-hitter against the Friars.
I'm not convinced this is a 100 loss team. They have been competitive in too many games thus far. However, they aren't executing when it counts. They know it too.
"Things in the first 10 games have not gone our way," Black said. "We've been in close games that have hinged on a few plays late in the game.Still believing in this team to turn things around and be competitive. It takes an exercise in patience at times, but I am, Keeping the Faith.
"But our players know how they need to play and know that we're not playing that way right now.