Rangers' Steve Weller faces scrutiny
ARLINGTON, Texas -- A no-hit bid like the one Yu Darvish carried into the ninth Friday night at Globe Life Park adds pressure to many facets of a game.
The defense doesn't want to let its pitcher down, the umpires don't want to miss a call (even though replay is now a backstop) and even the official scorer comes under extra scrutiny.
Such was the case for Steve Weller, official scorer in the Rangers' 8-0 win over the Boston Red Sox on Friday.
Weller was faced with a crucial scoring decision with two outs in the seventh inning. Darvish had a perfect game intact at the time.
More than a minute went by with no scoring call. Then it came -- error on Rios.
Weller explained to pool reporter Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News: "In my judgment, when the ball goes up in the air, I felt like the second baseman or right fielder under normal effort could have caught the ball. Under the rule, 10.12a1, it clearly states that a fly ball that lands -- that's allowed to hit the ground, that in the judgment of the official scorer under normal effort could be caught -- you're to award an error on the play.''
Weller said since the play broke up a perfect game, he called the Elias Sports Bureau, something he would not normally do.
They concurred with his call.
To Weller, it appeared Rios at one point raised his hand to call for the ball and Odor stopped. Then, seeing that Rios wasn't going to get to the ball, Odor lunged for it and that's when the ball landed.
"My feeling was Rios called him off and he made a last-ditch effort. I felt Rios had an easier play coming in,'' Weller said.
Rios said he wasn't surprised to receive an error on the play and could remember a similar play in which he was involved; he hit a fly ball behind first that wasn't touched, and the first baseman received an error.
Ortiz, for his part, said he thought the error should have been ruled a hit.
"I know I hit a ball that was supposed to be caught," Ortiz said. "The guy is throwing a no-hitter. We all understand, but when it comes down to the rules of the game, that's a hit. That's the rule that we all know and that's the rules that the game had for more than 100 years."
Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who was teammates with Darvish last year, agreed with Ortiz's assessment of the play after the game. "That ball David hit should have been a hit, I think," he said. "So it should have been over a lot earlier, but David ended up getting a hit in the ninth anyways."
Weller, who is in his 20th season scoring Major League Baseball games, said this was his first time scoring a no-hitter that went as deep as the seventh.
"We've had a running joke here since I've been scoring. I didn't want to be in this position, explaining my call. I'm just like an umpire in that I want to get it right. I know what it looks like, some people thinking he's being a hometown scorer and trying to protect the pitcher. I looked at the replay a dozen times and it has not changed my opinion.''
Ortiz, however, said he believes the league will overturn the ruling, giving him the only two hits in Friday's game.
Interestingly enough, though, he said he wouldn't have been so outspoken about it had that play been the only difference in Darvish tossing a no-hitter or not. "They have to [overturn the ruling], otherwise they are going to have to fix some s--- up. I wouldn't have minded if the guy was throwing a no-hitter. I wouldn't have minded, to be honest with you."
Information from ESPNBoston.com contributor Travis L. Brown was used in this report.