The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Oakland Athletics are fighting for the best record in baseball, the A.L. West Division title and, both teams hope, ultimately the A.L. Pennant. They began a four-game series in Anaheim Thursday night. The Angels won 4-3 in the bottom of the 10th inning putting them two games ahead of the A’s in the division.
The game was not without it’s share of intensity on both sides, especially during the ninth inning. The game was tied 3-3 going into the ninth inning. The A’s failed to score in the top of the ninth.
In the bottom of the inning there was a suspicious incident involving pitcher Dan Otero, first baseman Brandon Moss and the batter Erick Aybar that left the A’s playing the rest of the game in protest.
Aybar hit a short chopper up the first baseline and both Otero and Moss ran to field the ball. Otero caught the ball and all three players collided half way between the plate and first base.
Tweets from MLB.com’s Jane Lee chronicled the events both during and after the game.
Moss: “When Dan caught the ball, I know Aybar veered inside the line. There’s video to prove it.” — Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) August 29, 2014
The umpires called obstruction immediately claiming that Otero did not have the ball before Aybar hit him. In the replays it was clear that Otero had fielded the ball cleanly and from the side angle it appeared that Aybar had intentionally veered left and barreled into Otero who subsequently hit Moss.
Oakland manager Bob Mevin had seen both the play and the replay from the dugout and was not happy with the call. He argued with the umpire crew chief Greg Gibson for quite a while.
Melvin says he was told there was contact before Otero caught the ball. Even though there clearly wasn’t. — Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) August 29, 2014
Eventually the call ended up being obstruction on Moss, which was also not the case since Aybar left the base path before hitting the two A’s players.
The Angels loaded the bases before Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout got the second and third outs in the inning. The incident however changed game’s momentum and also forced the A’s to use their pitchers differently than if Aybar had been called out. The A’s then fell to the Angels in the 10th inning.
Moss in agreement of protest “because with one out and nobody on, it changes the dynamic of the way the game is played from that point on.” — Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) August 29, 2014
There have been two games played under protest this season. The San Francisco Giants had their protest upheld in a game against the Chicago Cubs. The Tampa Bay Rays played a game under protest this season and it was not upheld.
It is more likely that MLB will not uphold the protest although they should. The replay clearly shows that there was no obstruction by either Moss or Otero and that Aybar deliberately ran outside the base path to run into Otero.
If MLB rules as they have the majority of the time in the past then the A’s will have unfairly lost what could be a very important game come September 30.