The ending to Tuesday’s Nationals-Braves game was … odd, to say the least.
With the bases loaded and the Braves down by two runs, Chase d’Arnaud struck out swinging against Shawn Kelley to end the game. Or at least that certainly looked to be the case.
But after the handshakes were exchanged and both teams were basically on their way to their respective clubhouses, home plate umpire CB Bucknor made a bizarre ruling and reversed the strikeout, claiming that the pitch was foul-tipped.
It looks pretty clear that d’Arnaud whiffed completely on the pitch, and that’s supported by the fact that the Atlanta batter ran to first base and didn’t protest the strike three call. (After the game, d’Arnaud said “I guess I tipped it. I didn’t feel it. I thought the game was over.”)
Regardless, the two teams returned to the field and Kelley successfully struck out d’Arnaud for a second time. Game over.
But before the teams left the field, Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth made sure that Bucknor got an earful for the egregious call that could have cost Washington a win.
Werth wasn’t done there, either. The veteran ripped into Bucknor to the media following the game.
“This is my like my 14th year in the big leagues,” Werth told reporters after the game. “You see a lot of things, but when it’s consistently not with the standards of the league, I think something needs to be done. I just can’t believe that every time it’s bottom of the barrel. Every time. I know I’m handcuffed here. I can’t say a whole lot. I don’t want to get suspended. But these games are serious. That’s the thing. These games mean a lot. The game is over there, and all of a sudden it’s not over.
“I’m not even talking about balls and strikes or anything else. It just blows my mind that in a big league baseball game that can actually happen.”
It’s hard to blame Werth for being so ticked. Umpires are human and, thus, will make mistakes every now and then, but that’s a particularly outrageous call that’s just about inexcusable for a big league umpire.