By John Hickey
Wednesday, April 24th, 2013 at 6:15 pm in 2013 regular season.
Jed Lowrie says he’s long been a proponent of expanded use of replay in baseball games.
Some replay Wednesday might have turned the tide for the A’s shortstop and his team, but it was not to be.
Batting with two out in the ninth with Oakland down 6-5 to the Red Sox in Fenway Park, Lowrie thought he’d hit a double down the right field line. The ball hit the chalk, which is by definition in fair territory.
Also, it was Fenway Park, and there is almost no foul territory to be had deep down the left and right field foul lines.
Umpire Greg Gibson didn’t see the chalk fly, evidently. He called the ball foul. Lowrie was so stunned by the call that he kept running to second base. It was there he remained while his manager, Bob Melvin, argued the call with Gibson to no avail.
“I saw him call it, but I kept running because I couldn’t believe it,’’ Lowrie said. “It’s easy to say in retrospect, but I have been in favor of more replay. That wouldn’t change the way I feel about this one. It’s about getting the call right.’’
Melvin was in a sour mood after the game, in part because he felt a double right there was the ticket to get the A’s even. The next batter was third baseman Josh Donaldson, and Donaldson had doubled and singled in his previous two at-bats and was five-for-nine with three doubles in the three-game series.
“I saw the chalk fly,’’ Melvin said. “that call makes a huge difference. Now we’ve got a man in scoring position with one of our hottest hitters up.
“I wish we had more replays for boundary (fair/foul) calls.’’
–Chris Young had been in a funk before his two-homer, four-RBI day Wednesday.
He came into the game hitless in six at-bats in the series and was 0-for-17 before launching his three-run homer in the fourth inning. (He’d walked in the second).
“It’s been a slow start,’’ Young said, reflecting on his .174 average. “But it’s still April. I’ve had fast starts in the past and slow starts. At the end of the season, everything tends to work itself out.
“We have 4 or 500 at-bats left. Now’s not the time to panic.’’
Melvin was delighted to see that kind of performance out of Young, who was batting seventh Wednesday and who hit a solo homer in the eighth inning for the A’s fifth run.
“That was great to see,’’ the manager said of the 11th multiple-homer day in Young’s career. “He’s a good player, and that’s what he has to offer.’’
–The A’s headed home for a four-game series against the Orioles after this one having lost five of the six games on the swing against the Rays (0-3) and the Red Sox (1-2).
Melvin hasn’t been a fan of what he’s been seeing the last week, although he seemed to think the A’s were much more competitive in Boston than they’d been in Florida.
“We came back nicely today,’’ he said, “but it was frustrating at the end. We feel we can come back any time.
“Obviously 1-5 is not what we want.’’
–One of the reasons the A’s picked up Casper Wells was to have a right-hander available to bat against lefties with Yoenis Cespedes still on the DL. Wells didn’t start Wednesday opposite Jon Lester, in part because he has played no games in the last month and in part because he was 0-for-10 lifetime against Lester. He could start Friday against Baltimore lefty Wei-Yin Chen.
–The game ended with just three umpires. Jerry Layne, who was behind home plate, took a foul ball of his hand in the fourth inning, finished the inning, then left the field. Mike Estabrook, who’d been at second base, finished up calling balls and strikes.