Déjà vu all over again — 1,324 days apart, and on the same 90 feet of dirt and grass!

You could not even script tonight’s game to be like Game 6 of the 2019 World Series with the interference play on Trea Turner, but yet it happened tonight — and the Washington Nationals end up on the wrong side of the play — again! Separated by 1,324 days and on the same field, it appeared that in tonight’s situation, the batter, Jake Meyers, purposely ran in fair territory to obstruct the throwing lane for catcher Keibert Ruiz, and as a result the Astros got a walk-off win as the throw bounced off of Meyers to score the winning run. Obstruction calls still are not reviewable. It was déjà vu all over again.

In the World Series game, Martinez was ejected. Tonight, the game was over and the umpires ran away from him, so Martinez was not ejected. But he let loose on the umps in his postgame presser, and this time he had photographic proof to make his point which is the photo above.

“There it is. Right there. Take a look at [the photo]. Is that on the line? I’m over this play! Seriously, they need to fix the rule. If this is what the umpires see that he’s running down the line? I’m tired of it. I’m tired of it. Fix it! We lost the game, and [homeplate umpire Jeremy Riggs] had nothing to say about it, because he can’t make the right call. Brutal! Brutal!”

“Nothing. The [umpire] said he saw [Meyers] running down the line. So I said: ‘We lost the game because you made the wrong call.'”

— manager Dave Martinez said tonight in his postgame presser (video below)

In 2019, umpire Sam Holbrook determined that Turner violated rule 5.09(a)(11), the runner’s obstruction rule of Major League Baseball. But did he? It is up to the umpires discretion. The league’s head of umpires, Joe Torre, read that rule aloud to reporters after the World Series game. It still did not exactly fit the situation except for the fact that it was a judgment call, and Holbrook’s interpretation could only be debated — it was not going to change his call on the field. Tonight, no umpire spoke after the game. Neither crew chief Todd Tichenor or Riggs spoke to reporters. The basic issue with the rule is that it could apply to a bad throw from a shortstop which is why common sense must prevail, and the rule is there for a runner obstructing a throw that is deemed on-purpose. The fielder in 2019 was pitcher Brad Peacock who just made an awful throw on the Turner play, and the speedster beat the throw anyway. Peacock had a clear path and angle for the throw. Turner being out of the running lane for a few feet did not impact the play. However, Ruiz’s throwing angle was obstructed by the runner as you can see by the photo and Rule 5.09(a)(11).

You can see the Turner play in this classic Jomboy video (language NSFW or children), and Peacock just made an terrible throw. That is baseball. It had nothing to do with obstruction. Tonight, Ruiz had no throwing lane, and this is why the rule exists for just this reason.

Here is what Martinez said after Game 6 of the World Series after he had calmed down. It helped that the Nats won that game otherwise the play could have led to a World Series loss.

“I don’t want to sit here and talk about me or the umpires. This is not about me or the umpires. This is about the Washington Nationals and those guys in the clubhouse coming to Game 6 and playing lights out, knowing this could be it.”

— Martinez said back on October 29, 2019

Tonight, Martinez tried to argue with the umpires just like he did on behalf of Turner in 2019, and again to no avail. He is 0-2 now. Martinez is right, the rule has to be updated to state that if a clear throwing lane exists — there is no obstruction or interference from the runner. Tonight’s play, where can Ruiz throw the ball to a right-handed first baseman from that angle?

To roll back to the top of the 9th inning, the Nats were losing 4-1 when they put a 3-spot on closer Ryan Pressly to collar him with a blown save, and a 4-4 tie game.

In the bottom of the 9th inning, with the bases loaded and one out, Martinez utilized the new-school five-man infield, and reliever Hunter Harvey induced a groundball by Meyers to shortstop CJ Abrams who lasered a perfect strike to Ruiz to try to turn the 6-2-3 double play to end the inning and push the game into extra innings. But Meyers got in the way of the throw that bounced past first baseman Michael Chavis, allowing the winning run to score which was ruled an error on Ruiz, and not interference on Meyers.

The postgame presser is a classic:

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