Upon further review, Orioles manager Buck Showalter agreed with the umpires’ decision to award a home run to Tampa Bay’s Matt Joyce in the top of the sixth inning.
Joyce initially was given a double, and he remained on the bag during a lengthy delay that ultimately included a review.
“I think Joe (Maddon) was just waiting to get the right call out of the dugout, because you can only get them to review it if you think it was a home run. You don’t want to penalize fair or foul,” Showalter said following the Orioles’ 3-1 loss to the Rays at Camden Yards.
Showalter argued that the ball sliced foul, but MASN replays showed that it nicked the bottom right corner of the pole, which is painted black.
“That’s what some of our players felt strongly about, but (the umpires) got it right, so it certainly didn’t affect the way the game ended up,” Showalter said.
Both poles were painted last year “just to be consistent,” Showalter said. “Both of them are black at the bottom. I think every ballpark in the league has that for that reason, to get the call right. You could get it right probably if it was yellow, but it makes it a lot easier. Above the wall and it hits the pole, it’s a home run. I’d love to make more out of it than it is, but it is what it is.
“I’ve got my guys that report. I don’t want to argue about something that I don’t have a good argument about and lose credibility. It’s just a part of the equation that everybody’s ... I’m sure that Maddon’s waiting on some feedback about what kind of argument he’s got. He’s got to make the decision whether he wants them to go check it or not, because he’s got a chance for them to go in there and end up calling a foul ball, and not even a double. You’ve got to make the decision whether you want to roll the dice for the home run.
“When he got all the report back from the people, I’m sure he felt real confident about what was going to get called. I’ve got a guy who lets me know if I have a good argument, so I knew once they went inside it was going to be a home run.”
It was a unique situation with a runner standing on second base and neither manager thinking he should be there.
“That’s why we play the games,” Showalter said. “Something’s going to happen out there we haven’t seen. I think you’re going to see a lot more replay as we go forward in the game. You’re going to see more than just home runs reviewed. So, you know I’m all for it, just getting it right. I think the umpires are, too. They want to be right. More times than not, they are.
“I went out and argued twice last night and I was wrong. I made sure I told them that today. That’s why I try to have someone look at it that I know doesn’t get too emotionally involved - sometimes players do - who tells me whether I’m right or not. Sometimes, I’m pretty sure before I leave the dugout.”
Crew chief Gerry Davis, talking to a pool reporter, also explained the reason for the delay.
“Buck wanted to know whether the ball was, in fact, fair,” Davis said. “We got together as a crew to discuss whether the ball was fair or foul, whether any of us had anything differently than Danny (first-base umpire Dan Iassogna) had. We did not. So the ruling on the field was that it was a fair ball in play.
“Joe wanted to review to see if it was a home run, but only if the consequences were not the possibility of it being a foul ball. He thought the only thing possible was it being a fair ball play, which would have been a double or a home run. That’s not true. If we go to replay, whatever we ascertain from the replay is the call we make, so a foul ball is a possibility in that situation. That was the delay, because that’s what I was telling him, that if we go to replay, that’s possibly what could happen.”
Davis said the call wasn’t difficult to make after watching the video.
“No, because we know the black on the pole signifies a ball above the fence,” Davis said.
Joyce increased the Rays’ lead to 3-1, which was plenty for left-hander Matt Moore, who improved to 8-0 with a 2.29 ERA. He outdueled Chris Tillman, who registered his sixth consecutive quality start.
“Moore pitched well, obviously,” Showalter said. “He’s been pitching well for quite a while. You can see why they like him so much and why he’s been so successful. We’re in a division where you’ve got to beat the good guys, because you’re going to see them about every night.
“Pitching wasn’t the issue today. It was trying to solve Moore. And their bullpen’s been pretty tough. Moore was the difference-maker today.”
The Orioles aren’t catching many breaks during this losing skid. Another example was the Chris Davis fly ball in the ninth that died on the warning track.
“That’s a little bit ‘Woe is me’ and ‘The world’s against me’ thing. That’s not the case. We don’t think way,” Showalter said.
“We’ve had some good things happen to us at times. That’s part of playing a sport. There’s some unique dips and turns to every season. It’s frustrating for us, but you don’t dwell on it. They hit a couple balls today that might have carried out on a normal day. I think what a lot of people miss about our ballpark is how different it plays on a particular night or day. But it’s not like they’re changing the ballpark around when they hit and when we hit. It’s just part of the challenge.
“We had a couple situations that really pushed Chris. He could have pitched another inning or two. There was a swing that was somehow, we couldn’t get the call on and cost him six or seven pitches. We made an error at second. I think they called it a hit but we’ve got to make that. We had a couple things that stretched out innings.
“We knew runs were going to be at a premium with Moore. We also had a couple situations with a man on third and one out where we didn’t execute.”
Are some players pressing during this streak?
“I hope so,” Showalter said. “It’s just human nature. I have a lot of confidence in them. They have a lot pride and they know reality. We’ll kick a few things around tomorrow, between now and today. Timing’s everything and presentation is sometimes everything.”