Skip to Content

The Nats and Astros played a weird one in Houston on Wednesday night. The 'stros got out to a 4-0 lead in the fourth, thanks most impressively to a pair of back-to-back sky-touching blasts by José Abreu and Yainer Diaz. The Nats scored one run off Framber Valdez and then rallied in the ninth with a combination of errors and clutch hits. Their reprieve was brief, however. With the score 4-4 in the bottom half of the inning, the defending champs led off with two singles. A strikeout and a walk loaded the bases with one out. And then on a grounder hit by Jake Meyers, the Nats got the force out at the plate but lost the game on a blow to the baserunner's medulla oblongata. Catcher Keibert Ruiz attempted to throw the runner out at first, but the ball bounced off Meyers's helmet, allowing the winning run to score from second.

Here's the better angle:

The fact that Meyers touched grass on this race to first incensed Nationals manager Davey Martinez, who argued the call on the field to no avail. While Meyers could have been declared out for escaping the basepath and interfering with the throw, the ump had the final word and decided he was unbothered by Meyers's route.

Martinez didn't take defeat in stride. In the relatively short amount of time between the walk-off and the postgame press conference, either Martinez himself or someone employed by the Nationals found the most egregious-looking frame of Meyers's run and printed it out. Printed it! Clubhouses still have printers! Even the visiting ones, apparently. And so Martinez used the print as a surprise prop in his argument against the outcome of the game and for the ability to change these calls through replay.

"There it is right there," he said. "Take a look at it. Is that on the line? I don't think so. I'm over this play. Seriously. They need to fix the rule. If this is what the umpire sees, that he's running down the line? I'm tired of it. I'm tired of it. Fix it! We lost the game, and he had nothing to say about it, because he can't make the right call. Brutal! Brutal."

It's a stressful time to be in the Nats dugout, saddled with management uninterested in winning and a roster lacking any kind of star. Washington's taken a win in just one of their last nine games to drop down to 26-40 in what looks to be their fourth straight year of irrelevance since winning the World Series.

The Astros, meanwhile, are a pretty chill 39-29. Their own manager, Dusty Baker, sure had nothing to complain about in his own meeting with reporters.

"That's always a questionable call," he said. "Nobody really has the vantage point very good except really the home plate umpire, and he said it was nothing."

Baker then, I'm told, held up a piece of paper with a little doodle of Homer Simpson on it.

If you liked this blog, please share it! Your referrals help Defector reach new readers, and those new readers always get a few free blogs before encountering our paywall.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter