Kyle Gibson had a rough first inning this evening for the Baltimore Orioles. He threw in excess of 30 pitches, and seemed to suffer from control issues. However Gibson got things together quickly, pitching the Birds to a solid victory. Gibson’s line: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 4 K.
Gibson surrendered his lone run on an RBI-triple by Laureano in the first inning. A triple that was aided by Ryan McKenna bobbling the ball in right field. But a triple none the less. The good news is that the O’s didn’t trail for long. Ryan Mountcastle’s two-run homer in the last of the first gave the Birds the lead at 2-1.
Austin Hays had an outstanding game. He scalded several balls in his at-bats, making great contact. He sent a solo homer into the stands on the sixth, giving the Birds a 4-1 lead. Ramon Urias would get Hays home after a double in the eighth with an RBI-single. This closed out a 5-1 Orioles’ victory.
However, a pall hung over the end of the game. Cedric Mullins was rung up on a pitch that appeared to be outside in the seventh inning. (A strike three that ended the inning.) He voice what appeared to be some very mild displeasure. As he walked back to the dugout, he was ejected by home plate umpire Malachi Moore.
Manager Brandon Hyde immediately came out to defend his center fielder, and after a heated argument HE was ejected. Also by Moore.
To be clear, Cedric Mullins never says anything to umpires. And while he was obviously displeased with the call, he didn’t appear to say much this time around also. If you haven’t seen the replay, quite frankly it’s UGLY. Mullins said nothing. And he was tossed. As was Hyde for protecting his player.
This sort of thing is the poster child for robot umpires. Moore’s strike zone was atrocious the entire game. That doesn’t mean it was bad. But instead it was more “inconsistent” than anything else. And that’s what ticks players off; when you called said pitch a strike last inning but you call it a ball now. You have to be uniform, and Moore was far from it tonight.
Robotic umpires would fox that issue. But at what cost? The human element – that’s the “cost.” I’m of the mindset that it’s not worth losing that in games. This doesn’t mean that umpires don’t need to work on their consistency. Because they do. But I wouldn’t want to get further and further away from the human element.
Here’s the other thing; you still would need a home plate ump. Someone would have to operate the machine. Furthermore, you’d still need an umpire to call out and safe at home plate. So you may as well have the guy calling balls and strikes. However antics like what Moore pulled tonight don’t make it easy to push to keep umpires calling balls and strikes.
The series continues tonight at Camden Yards. Grayson Rodriguez gets the start for the O’s (his first at home), and he’ll be opposed by Oakland’s Kyle Muller. Game time is set for just after 6:30 PM.