Once again, umpires become the story of an MLB game. And not for good reasons.
MLB umpiring incompetence was on display in the Red Sox 7-5 loss to the Tigers on Sunday, as Daniel Nava clearly caught a fly ball to right to start the eighth inning, and dropped it in the transfer to his hand. But the second base ump (can't remember his name, nor do I want to) ruled it a drop and Detroit had a man on second. (The umps got together and STILL couldn't get the call right.) John Farrell rightly went bananas and was tossed for the first time as Red Sox manager.
(There was a similar play in the Mets game today as well, as Ben Revere also allegedly dropped a fly ball that looked to me he caught. And it led to a big Mets inning, too.)
The Tigers went on to score three runs, and the win. Can't say this incompetence cost the Sox the game (the bullpen was clearly more to blame), but they sure didn't help. As my friend Allan at Joy of Sox sometimes says, "Bring on the robots." (I'm now more convinced than ever that instant replay is not only needed, it's a necessity. And let the robots make the calls. They couldn't be any worse.)
I can't watch ANY MLB game these days without shaking my head over the lousy umpiring, especially the home plate. It's putrid, and MLB does nothing about it. And it hurst the sport.
The pitching continues to be a worry. Felix Doubront, coming off his best start of his career, was awful, allowing three runs in five innings, and could easily have given up more.
Jon Lester got a gift win on Friday, and Clay Buchholz' next start has been pushed back even further. Right now, the most reliable starter is John Lackey. (Yes, I just wrote that. Believe it.)
The bullpen has been really erratic lately. After today's latest debacle, Andrew Bailey's next appearance will probably be in garbage time. The bullpen ERA is now 25th in MLB and the Sox relievers are 28th in walks allowed.
Despite this gloom and doom and losing 3 of 4 in Detroit, the Sox are still two games up over Baltimore, 2 1/2 in front of New York, with Tampa Bay and the hard-charging Blue Jays both five back.
A four-cornered fight looks like it is now a five-cornered one. (Does that even exist?).