The Nationals lost this game #5 by a final score of 9-to-8 and at times this was as sloppy of a game as we have seen the Washington Nationals play. The Nationals led early by a score of 4-to-1 and then were staring at a 8-to-4 deficit. The Nationals clawed back into the game to get within a run in the 8th inning, but could not plate the final run to tie it.
There were so many poor and bizarre plays like a wild pitch strikeout that turned into a throwing error followed by a catcher’s interference then a ball Jayson Werth couldn’t catch (ruled a double) and an Adam Lind first pitch doubleplay ball and then the back-breaker in the 8th inning with 2 men on-base and Lobaton was picked-off of first base by the catcher to end the 8th inning.
Max Scherzer came in to relieve Matt Albers, and Max got 2 quick outs and then was victimized by 2 bloops followed by a hard groundball that eluded Anthony Rendon for a 2-run double followed by the 2 unearned runs. Scherzer entered with a 4-to-3 lead and exited with a 7-to-4 deficit.
The Nationals had big offense tonight with 14-hits and 9 walks but Ryan Zimmerman ended 3 innings with his 0-for-4 night with 3 strikeouts and he left 7 men on-base. The Nationals had many rallies snuffed out like the first inning Bryce Harper groundout with Trea Turner on 3rd thrown out at the plate, and the Adam Lind pinch-hit doubleplay with no outs and 2-men on-base and of course the Jose Lobaton pick-off. Every Nats position player got on base at least twice except for Zimmerman. Michael Taylor had a 3-run home run in the game, and was the offensive star of this series.
Matt Wieters on the wild pitch strikeout also included a back-swing to Wieters head. It should have been batter’s interference but home plate ump Jerry Layne didn’t see it that way and the play is not reviewable by video.
You never want to see one play have as big of an impact as this one did especially when the rule calls for umpire judgment and didn’t allow for video replay but by the letter of the rule it should have been a “dead ball” inning over if Layne knew the rule as he appeared to acknowledge the contact to Wieters head.
“Back-swing interference is a play where a guy is stealing or there’s a play being made a runner hindering the catch,” home plate umpire Jerry Layne said afterwards. “It was a wild pitch and went past him. That is no longer in that particular description, in my judgment. In my judgment, the passed ball changed the whole rule around to where, in my judgment, it had nothing to do with everything. Therefore, it didn’t have any effect on it. In my judgment. When the ball gets past him, all right, in my judgment he didn’t have any more opportunity after he had a chance to field the ball. There was no further play that could have been made on it. The graze of the helmet didn’t have anything to do, in my judgment, with anything at all, with that particular play. I understand, it’s pretty much my judgment. I got together and found everybody was in agreement. That’s what we went with.”
Layne acknowledges “the graze of the helmet” so it appears he just did not ajudicate the rule as it was written. Again, dead ball, batter strikes out, end of inning Nats go into the dugout down one run instead of down three runs. Nats ultimately lose the game by one run. Do you think those two runs made a difference in the outcome?