Wednesday night's game between the Yankees and the Bay Rays featured an incident in the top of the seventh that almost gave the Yankees a victory. For those of you who follow the MLB Network, they were all over this one, but if you didn't see it, this is what happened:
The Yankees had fallen behind 2-1 on yet another Hughes - Posada home run allowed. I list both players because this Fan will go to his grave thinking that Hughes gives up gophers because of the pitches that Posada calls. But anyway, back to the seventh inning. As stated, the Yankees were behind a run and the Bay Rays have just as good a bullpen now as the Yankees do. It's the biggest improvement for these Rays over the 2008 version. The Yankees needed base runners and the Bay Rays' bullpen doesn't give up many of them. That's the scenario that led up to the Jeter Incident.
Chad Qualls was on the mound. Where Qualls has suddenly come up with a 95 MPH fastball is a subject for another blog post, but Qualls now throws extremely hard. Derek Jeter has been scuffling as just about all the world knows, but he needed to get on base. Knowing that, Jeter found an opportunity to...umm...cheat a little bit. Qualls' pitch darted inside and the replay showed that the ball hit the knob of the bat. Jeter acted like his arm got blown off. The umpire, seeing Jeter in obvious supposed pain, gave Jeter first base. The Rays protested and the umps got together to talk about it. Apparently none of them were quite sure, so Jeter took his base. Joe Maddon went ballistic and got himself thrown out of the game.
Again, the MLB Network was all over the development. They showed the replay over and over again and were having so much fun laughing at Jeter's acting ability. The network even froze the replay to show Jeter's eyes looking at the umpire to see if the umpire was buying his pain routine. He did. The Network also played a feed of the Tampa broadcast and the Fan takes everything back he ever said about Kevin Kennedy as a color man. Kennedy totally lost his composure and was extremely vile in his condemnation of the umpires. It was ugly. But anyway, one of Kennedy's points was that the ball went in fair territory and should have been an out. But he was wrong.
The replays that they showed over and over again did show that the ball hit the knob of the bat. Jeter had indeed pulled a fast one. But the replays also showed that the ball glanced off of Jeter after it hit the bat's knob. Thus, it wouldn't have been an out, but it should have been a strike. Kennedy missed that since he was so upset and the MLB Network guys missed it because they were too busy laughing at Jeter's checkered play.
Granderson was up next and hit the ball out of the park that put the Yankees ahead. But the lead didn't last long as for some reason, Girardi left Hughes out there in the bottom of the seventh to face the same guy who hit the first homer. Sure enough, that guy, Dan Johnson, hit another two run homer off of Hughes - Posada. Both homers were on fastballs, the first was a two-seamer that went right to the sweet spot for a power-hitting left-handed batter (down and in). The second was on a cutter in roughly the same spot. Great call, Jorge...again. No way you throw Johnson fastballs. Ever. And why would you leave him in there, Girardi?
Anyway, the Bay Rays won the game, which goes to show the kids that once again, cheaters never prosper.