Braves victimized by worst call of the 2018 season, and it likely cost them a crucial win

This happened Thursday, but it's a slow news Saturday thus far and this call so was awful that it deserves spotlight.

The Cubs were visiting the Braves for a make-up game, and it was a 0-0 tie in the second inning with runners on first and second when Mike Foltynewicz spit while taking his signs. He was called for a balk. It was unreal.

Take a look here and listen to the Cubs' broadcast team react: 

"I think he took a deep breath," Cubs color man Jim Deshaies said in mockery [aside: JD is awesome]. 

Good lord, that is a brutal call.

From MLB itself, the balk is "in place to prevent a pitcher from deceiving the baserunners." In the spirit of the rule, there was a zero percent chance Foltynewicz violated it. By letter of the law, there's absolutely nothing here: 

A balk will be called when a pitcher who is on the rubber makes any motion naturally associated with his pitching delivery and does not actually deliver the ball, feigns a throw to first or third base and fails to complete the throw, or fails to step directly toward a base before throwing to that base. Once a pitcher has swung his free leg back past the pitching rubber while in the process of his leg kick, he must then deliver the ball to the plate or to second base on a pick-off attempt.  

The balk call actually made a difference in the Cubs winning the game, too. It moved the runners to second and third. Willson Contreras would then ground out to plate the first run of the game. The second run scored when Kyle Schwarber grounded to second with the infield pulled in. Ozzie Albies' throwing error home allowed the run. 

That's two runs that were aided by the balk call, no doubt about it. The Cubs won 5-4. Both of these teams are in first place. What if the Cubs win the Central by one game or the Braves lose the East by a game? This was a big deal. 

It's difficult to find the words to properly describe just how atrocious this call was. Shame on the umpiring crew. 

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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