A bad week for Major League Baseball's umpires and baseline calls culminated with another blown call during Saturday's game between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies. As a result, Bryce Harper was ejected from the contest and the Phillies lost an opportunity to bat with a runner in scoring position in what turned out to be a one-run loss.
The error in judgement, committed by second-base umpire Jose Navas, occurred during the seventh inning. The Phillies had Andrew McCutchen at first base with one out in a tied game when Matt Joyce hit a grounder to shortstop Francisco Lindor, who was stationed on the second-base side of the bag as part of an overshift. After fielding the ball, Lindor pursued McCutchen before then firing to first base in time for the out.
Though Lindor didn't actually apply a tag on McCutchen, Navas called an out after concluding that McCutchen had left the baseline. The play, because it was of the judgement variety, was not reviewable. Take a look for yourself at what can be charitably described as a baffling call:
Rather than having a runner on second base with two outs in the inning, the inning was over.
Predictably, the Phillies were not happy with Navas' call. Bryce Harper, not in the lineup on Saturday after being struck in the face with a pitch on Wednesday night, was nonetheless ejected from the dugout. Manager Joe Girardi saved his ire for his postgame press conference.
"That was about as straight of a line as you could run," Girardi said, according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki. "He said he left the baseline. It's a terrible call. To me, the sad thing about it is it's not reviewable because it's a judgment. Well, I'm sorry, that's about as clear as it can be."
McCutchen, for his part, said that the umpires got the call wrong. He added that he didn't receive much of an explanation beyond being told that he had left the baseline, per Tim Kelly of Phillies Nation.
The Phillies and Mets would remain tied at 4-4 until the top of the ninth inning when Michael Conforto unleashed a solo home run. The loss drops the first-place Phillies to 13-14 on the season, while the Mets are now 10-11.