Minnesota Twins frustrated by unusual infield shift violation and questionable pitch calls in 3-2 loss to Cleveland Guardians

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Jose Ramirez runs the bases after hitting the ball

After a one-run loss, Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli struggled to understand what had just happened to his team. This game was especially hard on the Twins. “There was some stuff going on today,” Baldelli said.

Several questionable pitch calls and a confusing rule violation troubled the Twins, who lost their fourth straight game on Friday night, 3-2. The Cleveland Guardians took the lead in the eighth inning with a home run from José Ramírez after Minnesota reliever Jhoan Duran was squeezed by plate umpire Roberto Ortiz.

Baldelli meant no disrespect to Ramírez, calling him a “great player.” However, he was upset that Ortiz had put Cleveland’s All-Star third baseman in a favorable situation by calling two balls that were actually strikes.

“We can say they’re close pitches,” Baldelli said. “They’re strikes. Am I wrong about that based on anything objective that we have to look at? Those things do happen in the game, but that’s why he has to throw a pitch in the zone because he’s behind in the count.”

Ramírez’s homer came shortly after Twins center fielder Willi Castro was called out looking in the top of the inning on a borderline pitch. Then, in the ninth, Minnesota shortstop Carlos Correa struck out looking at a pitch that was low.

Carlos Santana hits the ball and runs

Earlier, Correa, who faced taunts of “Cheat-er” from Cleveland fans who remember his Houston days, was called for a rare shift violation.

Regarding the strikeout, Correa suggested that umpires might have difficulty keeping up with the pitchers.

“I feel like pitchers are too nasty right now for umpires to see,” he said. “I feel like if the umpires knew what was coming and they had a Pitchcom (communication device) they would make calls so much better.

“It’s really hard for them to just be able to call pitches, especially the way the catchers are framing nowadays. If they had a device where it says slider and they are anticipating the slider and they know where it has to start and land for it to be a strike, then we would get so many calls.

“But the fact that they are over there blind, it’s really hard. I just think their job is too hard for me to be harsh on them. Sometimes I get calls, sometimes I don’t and you move on.” In the sixth inning, Correa was called for the first shift violation in MLB this season.

Playing behind second base, Correa raced to his left and fielded a grounder by Ramírez before throwing him out. However, the Guardians challenged that Correa was illegally shifted and won a lengthy replay review, giving Ramírez new life.

Jose Miranda reacts in the match

Correa said he’s been positioning himself the same way since the rules changed last season. “I’ve always played it like that. To me, that’s what was in the rule book and it wasn’t, so today I learned something new,” he said, smiling. “Baseball is beautiful.”

Baldelli was upset that it took several minutes for the umpires to rule on a play that seemed unclear.

“Everything we do in replay has to be definitive,” he said. “The people in charge have to be able to look at it and go, that’s definitive. I was surprised that we ended up with a definitive call on that. Replay is supposed to be when we’re getting calls right and they’re definitive and we’re sure about them.”

Baldelli admitted the Twins could have done more to help themselves, but other factors were against them. “There are some guys who are upset in the room and I’m not happy about it, either,” he said. “That’s tough to take.”


By Ritik

Ritik Katiyar is pursuing a post-graduate degree in Pharmaceutics. Currently, he lives in Srinagar, Uttarakhand, India. You can find him writing about all sorts of listicle topics. A pharmaceutical postgrad by day, and a content writer by night. You can write to him at [email protected]

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