Scorer's decision remains hot topic after Darvish flirts with no-hitter
MAY 10, 2014 1:20a ET
Darvish lost the no-hit bid with two outs in the ninth, but a ruling by official scorer Steve Weller could have ended the excitement two innings earlier.
Darvish was working on a perfect game with two outs in the seventh when Boston's David Ortiz hit a pop-up to shallow right field. The ball landed between second baseman Rougned Odor, playing in just his second major-league game, and veteran right fielder Alex Rios.
Weller took some time to study the play, then ruled it an error on Rios. The perfect game was gone, but Darvish still had a chance at a no-hitter.
"It can be called an error, yeah," Rios said. "We were camped under the ball, so it can be called an error."
Others on social media disagreed. It was a decision that disproved the long-held belief by some that an error can't be charged to a fielder who doesn't touch the ball.
Count Ortiz among those who think a ball that drops in should be a hit.
"A guy throwing a no-hitter, we all understand, but it comes down to the rules of the game," Ortiz said. "That's a hit. That's the rule that we all know and that's the rule that the game has known for more than 100 years."
Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski agreed with his teammate.
"That ball that David hit should have been a hit, I think," Pierzynski said. "It (the no-hitter) should have been over a lot earlier."
Weller, in his 20th season as a major-league scorekeeper, cited Rule 10.12(a)(1) which states, in part: "The official scorer shall charge an outfielder with an error if such outfielder allows a fly ball to drop to the ground if, in the official scorer's judgement, an outfielder at that position making ordinary effort would have caught such fly ball."
Weller told a pool reporter he felt that Rios called for the ball but then pulled up short of where it was going to land, forcing Odor to make a last-ditch dive for it.
"I felt like the second baseman or the right fielder under normal effort could've clearly caught the ball," Weller said. "I don't think there's a lot of argument about that."
As the game continued, Weller called the Elias Sports Bureau, the official statistician for Major League Baseball, to review the play and they agreed with his ruling. He also cited a recent meeting of official scorers that discussed this exact play and the consensus was that an error should be assessed.
"I can't address what other official scorers call, and I can't address other plays and other situations," Weller said. "In my judgement both players could have caught the ball."
Rios agreed. He said the swirling winds at Globe Life Park have been affected fly balls lately, but the catch still should have been made.
"We had the shift on and I thought that he (Odor) was a little closer to the ball than I was," Rios said. "At the end, it's my responsibility to call him off ... I should have taken control of that ball."
Odor said through an interpreter that his inexperience played no part in the error because he's played with Rios in spring training games.
"With the noise I didn't know if he called it or not," Odor said. "I heard something on my back but I couldn't hear if he was calling it or not because there was a lot of noise with the crowd."
Ortiz said he wouldn't be pleading for a hit on the play if Darvish had completed the no-hit bid. Ortiz broke up the no-hitter with a single up the middle in the ninth.
"I wouldn't mind, to be honest, if the guy threw a no-hitter," Ortiz said. "I would have been OK with it to be honest with you."
Asked if he wants the ruling changed so that he ends up with two hits, Ortiz smiled and said, "I'm getting greedy."
Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire