The Rangers pulled a rare feat by getting beat in two different cities in the same day.
They lost to the Rockies 6-4 in Arlington. They lost to the MLB replay room in the Chelsea Market building in New York City.
It was one of the most frustrating ways possible to end a game. The controversy surrounding that play and that call will surely reverberate for a long time. If the Rockies can win a challenge on that slide, anyone slide into second can be reviewed.
This is a dangerous precedent to set.
Down two runs in the bottom of the tenth, the Rangers had one out and runners on second and first, after the ghost runner started at second and Mitch Garver worked a one-out walk.
Then, Adolis Garcia smacked a hard grounder to third. Rockies third baseman Ryan McMahon threw to second baseman Brendan Rodgers to get the force at second. His throw to first was wide and rolled all the way to down the line, allowing Garcia to make it to second as the ghost runner scored.
Suddenly, the Rangers had a runner at second with two outs, down 6-5.
But the Rockies challenged the slide, saying it was illegal.
Mitch Garver clearly went into second and his momentum took him past the base where he made contact with Rodgers. But Rodgers had already released the ball. And, Garver didn’t appear to go out of his way to interfere or impede Rodgers in any way. He just slid into second. His momentum carried him toward Rodgers but there was no other place for him to go. You can’t expect a player to violate basic laws of physics and stop mid-slide. Or vanish in thin air.
The slide was reviewed. Shockingly, it was declared to be an illegal slide, so the out was recorded at first as well. Garver, according to the official umpire in New York, was in violation of Rule 6.01(j), which states “if a runner does not engage in a bona fide slide, and initiates (or attempts to make) contact with the fielder for the purpose of breaking up a double play, he should be called for interference.”
Let’s see. He sure looks like he made a bona fide slide. And the second baseman had released the ball before any contact was made. And it doesn’t appear there was any purpose to the contact other than momentum.
Nevertheless, was a game ending double play. On a technicality.
The umpires walked off the field to a chorus of boos as Rangers manager Chris Woodward pleaded with them to regain their sanity.
It didn’t happen. The game ended on a challenged call. The Rangers lost 6-4. And baseball’s slide policy just got a lot more complicated.