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Game Twenty-One: Orioles 7, Indians 4

Box Score
Win Probability Graph @ Fangraphs

Highest WPA:

Jhonny Peralta .268
Victor Martinez .110
Josh Barfield .079

Lowest WPA:

Aaron Fultz -.376
Ryan Garko -.194
Trot Nixon -.157

First of all, if we go by the result currently noted, the bullpen blew the game, most especially Aaron Fultz, who hung an 0-2 breaking ball to Corey Patterson and gave up a two-run double in the eigth inning. Roberto Hernandez came and did more damage, leaving the Indians six outs to make up a three-run deficit. They couldn't.

Now, to the more interesting aspect of this game. In the top of the third, the Orioles had pushed across their second run of the game, and had runners at first and third with one out. Ramon Hernandez lined a Jeremy Sowers offering to left-center, and Grady Sizemore made a diving catch. Nick Markakis, who was at third, tagged up and ran home, while Miguel Tejada started from first at the crack of the bat. Sizemore got up, threw to first, and Tejada was declared out. By this time, Markakis had already crossed home plate, but the umpire declare that the run didn't count. He was wrong, and to my knowledge no official protest came from Baltimore's dugout.

A game cannot be played under protest unless the manager protests the game before the next pitch is thrown. That didn't happen, and the game progressed with the score 2-1 in favor of the Orioles. Three innings later, the umpires, after phoning somebody from the Indians' dugout, awarded the run to Baltimore. Eric Wedge immediately informed the umpires that the Indians were playing the game under protest.

What's even more bizarre is that the decision to give Baltimore the run came during the bottom of the sixth inning. So the inning started with the game tied 2-2, became 3-2 Baltimore during the inning, and the Indians took the lead 4-3 later that inning on a Jhonny Peralta home run.

The crux of the Indians' protest is that it was unfair that the umpires decided to correct themselves three innings down the line. This wasn't a situation where they originally made a call, immediately consulted another umpire(s), and reversed themselves; the reversal took place an hour later! The second interpretation of the call was correct according to the rulebook, but even so, the umpires should not have been allowed to reverse the call after play had resumed.

If the Indians' protest is upheld, then the game would be resumed at the time the reversal was made, in the bottom of the sixth with the score tied 2-2. And if I'm reading this rule right, the protest should be upheld:

Each league shall adopt rules governing procedure for protesting a game, when a manager claims that an umpire's decision is in violation of these rules. No protest shall ever be permitted on judgment decisions by the umpire. In all protested games, the decision of the League President shall be final.

Even if it is held that the protested decision violated the rules, no replay of the game will be ordered unless in the opinion of the League President the violation adversely affected the protesting team's chances of winning the game.

Rule 4.19 Comment: Whenever a manager protests a game because of alleged misapplication of the rules the protest will not be recognized unless the umpires are notified at the time the play under protest occurs and before the next pitch, play or attempted play. A protest arising on a game-ending play may be filed until 12 noon the following day with the league office.

Next Up: Carmona vs. Wright, 1:05 PM