Ugh. You usually can’t say that an umpire or set of umpires cost your team a game, because most of the time, so many other plays unaffected by a bad call or calls decide the outcome. And in today’s 8-5 setback to the Reds in 11 innings, it probably is the case that the criminal blindness of home plate umpire Laz Diaz in the top of the first didn’t cost the Nationals the victory. Despite his union-guaranteed incompetence, Washington did fight back after falling behind 4-0 to tie the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh. But ultimately, the Nats couldn’t get over the hump, snapping their winning streak at five games.
What was most disappointing about Diaz’s work behind the plate was that he had not one opportunity to call a third strike correctly, which would have ended the top of the first with no Reds crossing home plate, but two such chances. And he blew them both. First, with two on and two out, replay clearly showed Ross Detwiler had struck out Jay Bruce. Laz Diaz, like Colonel Klink, apparently saw nothing. And then again, with the bases loaded, replay clearly showed that he had punched out Ryan Ludwick. This was apparent to all, except again, Colonel Klink. Ludwick promptly deposited the next pitch into the stands for a grand slam.
Game ball(s): Ludwick, who when handed a gift, turned it into a grand slam which staked the Reds to an early 4-0 lead.
Goat(s): Laz Diaz, whose atrocious strike zone contributed greatly to the Nats setback.
Bryce Harper is not as far off: Can’t give it to Ian Desmond despite his nice day at the plate because of his critical first-inning error, so it goes to Adam LaRoche, who continued his hitting roll going 2/5 with two runs driven in.
Current Record: 7-3