Aggressive steal backfires on Sox
Betts slips off bag, claims he was pushed by Headley
BOSTON -- As Mookie Betts sat in the dirt, his feet resting on third base, the look of disbelief on the Red Sox center fielder's face conveyed everything video replay could not.
What began for the Red Sox as an aggressive endeavor on the bases ended with a tough call that largely shaped Tuesday's 3-1 loss to the Yankees at Fenway Park. Betts, who found himself dashing toward third in the eighth inning on an attempted double steal, was called out by third-base umpire Vic Carapazza after his foot wobbled off the bag on a hard slide.
With Betts visibly frustrated after exchanging words with Carapazza, the Red Sox challenged the ruling. But one minute and 39 seconds of review was all the time needed to confirm the original out call.
Ultimately, New York third baseman Chase Headley needed no more than that small window to apply a successful tag.
"With the way replay is now, we've been taught to hold the tag on there," Headley said. "I was off-balance, so I was just trying to hold the tag on. It felt like he was coming off. I kept holding and eventually he did."
But Betts adamantly believes his foot's movement was no fault of his own. After the game, the 22-year-old speedster gave his take on the play to president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who was passing through the Boston clubhouse, and then reporters.
"I felt like I was safe the whole time," Betts said. "As I was sitting there, I felt my foot start moving, and I wasn't moving it. So I felt like when [Headley] rolled over, he was pushing me off the bag, and whether it was intentional or unintentional, I felt like I was pushed."
The play marked a fortunate turn for the Yankees, considering the always-dangerous Davis Ortiz was batting with two runners on base and one out. Instead of mounting a rally, however, the Red Sox came away with zeros after Dellin Betances struck out Ortiz.
"It's a big play," Headley said. "Obviously David knows how to drive guys in and you've got the tying run in scoring position after that. It's a big play for us to get a big out right there, and obviously Dellin finished the job."
Such a bang-bang play likely does not occur had Betances opted to rely on his fastball with two quick runners on base. But Ortiz's recent damage done against heaters had the righty reliever unwilling to shy away from his putout pitch.
"I was going to throw him that breaking ball there no matter what," Betances said. "I was still confident in myself that I could make a pitch there. Instead of three outs, it would have been two outs, which is second and third. You don't want that, but it was a great job by [Brian] McCann and a great job by Chase keeping that tag on."
Betts recognizes that the push-off aspect of his out at third is not reviewable under the current replay system, and he expressed no real wish to lobby for a change. But the sting of the close play still lingers.
"It's just a part of the game," Betts said. "A judgment call there, and the judge obviously felt the opposite way."