BOSTON (CBS) – Bobby Valentine was not a happy camper after his Red Sox lost 4-3 to the Royals Wednesday night.
In a game with numerous close calls, Valentine was not pleased with the umpiring crew, namely home plate ump Jeff Nelson.
In the ninth inning with no outs and runners on first and second, Marlon Byrd squared to bunt against Royals closer Jonathan Broxton. Broxton’s offering was inside and hit Byrd on the finger, but Nelson said Byrd offered at the pitch and ruled it a foul ball.
The Red Sox skipper disagreed, arguing that Byrd pulled back his bat which would have put him on first by way of hit by pitch.
Valentine wanted Nelson to check with his crew. Nelson declined.
After the game, Valentine vented his frustration to the media.
“Guys battled their butts off, that’s all I know. That’s a damn shame. The [expletive] umpire can’t make a right call and get help to get it done,” Valentine told reporters. “It’s a damn shame is what it is.”
“Be stubborn. It’s not his job to call the frigging play. Just get help. It’s a damn shame is what that is. It’s a damn shame,” Valentine continued. “And then they don’t want replay. If they can’t get it right, they should frigging ask for help. They asked for help on the one on the outfield, I think they got it right. Why the [expletive] is it so hard to do it at the end of the game if they can do it at the beginning of the game?”
The “one in the outfield” was a fly ball in the first inning that left fielder Cody Ross had in his glove, but it popped out shortly after. It went for a two-run double by Brayan Pena, giving Kansas City a 3-0 lead at the time. Valentine argued that Ross held the ball long enough to record the out, and the umpires gathered and held an on-field conference for the play.
They did not change the ruling and the Sox found themselves in an early 3-0 hole.
As for Nelson, he had some thoughts on the play at home plate in the ninth.
“We usually don’t ask about a ball hitting a guy’s hand based on an umpire that’s 100 feet away,” Nelson said. “You go on the best information that you have, and also, if the batter had been offering at the pitch and the pitch had hit his hand, the result would be a strike and a dead ball. But my ruling was a foul ball.”