Weather had nothing to do with this delay
Kenta Maeda needed just one pitch to record the first out of Tuesday night’s game, but that was not to be taken as a sign of things to come in the second of a three-game series between his Los Angeles Dodgers and the Minnesota Twins.
Maeda slowed to a languid pace of roughly 30 seconds between each pitch during a 35-pitch third inning. Even that paled in comparison to what unfolded in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Twins Manager Paul Molitor attempted a double switch with one out, a runner on second base and Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig batting.
The strategy is common in a National League game, but not so much in the American League.
Molitor intended to insert Ehire Adrianza at shortstop and have reliever Ryan Pressly replace fellow right-hander Trevor Hildenberger. With the changes, Adrianza and Pressly were to bat ninth and seventh, respectively.
However, home plate umpire Lance Barrett relayed to Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts that Pressly was entering the game “in the five spot.” That meant left fielder Eddie Rosario was to be removed. When Pressly threw his first pitch to Puig, Rosario was still in left field.
Roberts approached Barrett about the Twins’ defensive alignment.
“The player who was supposed to be out of the game was still in the game,” Roberts said. “I just wanted to get clarity and make sure the pitcher was in the right spot, the right players were out there playing defense, and it wasn’t the case. The umpires did a good job. It took a little bit, but we got it right.”
After the umpires huddled with one another and conferred with both managers, a review was initiated in New York. Crew chief Bill Welke explained to pool reporter J.P. Hoornstra that official changes made to the Twins’ lineup card did not reflect the team on the field. Without precedent for this type of situation, it prompted a review with an umpire at the replay center that lasted 18 minutes.
Fans at Dodger Stadium grew restless and a small “We want baseball” chant broke out. Finally, the decision was made to restore the players on the field as reflected on the lineup card. That meant Jorge Polanco returned to
play shortstop, Adrianza replaced Rosario in left field and Pressly remained on the mound.
Molitor was not happy about the situation after the game, but ultimately took responsibility for it.
“I had it marked on my card that Pressly was going in the seven-hole and Adrianza was going in the nine-hole,” Molitor said. “I don’t know if I said a wrong name, or what I possibly might have said. I can’t imagine I said [Matt] Belisle for Rosario. [Barrett] heard what he heard. If I didn’t make it clear, then it was my responsibility.”
Washington Nationals pitcher Edwin Jackson channeled his inner ogre of Blazing Saddles fame to explain how he’s playing for his 12th major league team in his 15-year career — one shy of tying former pitcher Octavio Dotel’s record.
“Sometimes you’re just a pawn, man,” Jackson told Sports Illustrated. “I’ve been traded after bad years. I’ve been traded after a 14-win season.
“The life of a chess piece. There you go. Because that’s what we are.”
Minnesota Twins Manager Paul Molitor botched a double switch during Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, causing confusion for both managers and the umpiring crew and leading to an 18-minute delay.