Phillies Lose in 14, Protest over Controversial Replay

Phillies Lose in 14, Protest over Controversial Replay

The Philadelphia Phillies will await a ruling from league office following their 14-inning 5-4 loss to the Florida Marlins Sunday afternoon. The game was finished under protest after a controversial video replay in the sixth inning. The league's decision has not yet been announced and a timetable for said decision seems unknown.

So, what happened?

With no outs and one on in the top of the sixth, Hunter Pence hit a ball within feet, if not inches, of the right field wall. Just as Marlin outfielder Bryan Petersen left his feet to make a play, two fans—one of whom was attired in a Phillies hat and jersey—reached over the wall to interfere with the ball. With Petersen prevented from making the catch, the ball landed safely on the warning track and bounced toward the right field corner, resulting in a double.

This is the point where things became, to borrow a Wheeler-ism, "goofy."

Following the understandable complaints of Marlins manager Jack McKeon, first base umpire Joe West left the field of play, sending the game into a 13-minute delay. Upon his return, West declared that Hunter Pence was to be ruled out as a result of the interference, and that base runner Ryan Howard, who had made it to third thanks to Pence's double, would be sent back to first.

Three batters later, Wilson Valdez grounded into an inning-ending double play, leaving the score at 2-2. From there, the Marlins would take a one-run lead in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a Jose Lopez single to right.

Continuing the chaos that started just one inning prior, Ryan Howard would retake the lead for the Phillies in the top of the seventh, scoring Shane Victorino and Michael Martinez to register his league-leading 105th and 106th RBIs of the season.

Unfortunately, Michael Scwimmer proved unable to hold the lead. Though he did work his way out of a bases loaded jam, Schwimmer nonetheless surrendered the game-tying run in the eighth.

Neither team would score in the ninth, extending the 4-4 ballgame to extra innings.

Attempting to make up for his not so enviable club-joining performance Saturday night, David Herndon pitched three straight innings of shutout ball in acid-reflux-inducingly spectacular fashion. The beleaguered reliever issued two separate intentional walks in both the 12th and 13th innings to load the bases with one out. On both occasions, he would stroll back to the Phillies dug out unscathed.

He was not so lucky in the 14th.

With the bases loaded for the third time in three innings, Herndon eventually caved, allowing, on this occasion, an UN-intentional walk to Mike Cameron to end the ballgame. Final score: 5-4 Marlins.

If you find David Herndon's performance impressive, or even just odd, consider that Herndon would record more intentional walks than innings pitched on Sunday afternoon (5 IBB in 4 IP). By himself, Herndon would cause the Marlins to strand 11 of their game total 23 runners left on base.

Yes. "Goofy."

Rules Surrounding the Phillies Protest
Following the West ruling, an incensed Charlie Manuel was quickly ejected, leaving Pete Mackanin to inform the umpiring crew that the Phillies would play the remainder of the game under protest. League rules stipulate that games played under protest can be restarted from the point of protest should the league find that an umpiring crew jeopardized the protesting team's opportunity to win the ballgame due to a violation of the rules. As Scott Franzke put it on the radio broadcast, "Well, it seems pretty clear that's exactly what we have here."
The outraged radio voice of the Phillies was referring to the fact that instant replay—in its current incarnation—may only be used to review whether or not a hit should be ruled a home run. Because Pence was originally ruled safe at second, and the play was never called a home run, the Phillies contend that West's use of instant replay was a violation of the rules, and that fan interference is not reviewable in scenarios not involving a boundary dispute.

Before we get too far into this, here's a friendly reminder from a post we did roughly two months ago regarding this same sort of of issue: "Dear Phillies Fans, Please don't reach into the field of play for any reason whatsoever. Ever." A--clowns.

Now that that's out of the way, we would provide for you a copy of the MLB instant replay rules, if we could actually find them. For whatever reason, the replay rules do not appear in the most recent copy of the MLB rulebook. That said, MLB.com has posted a video of the incident, which you can find here. If you have any more luck than we did finding the replay rules, we do encourage you to send them along.

Back to the protest, broadcasters Tom McCarthy and Chris Wheeler repeated multiple times throughout the game that "all bets are off" on the success of the appeal should West claim his intent was to review whether or not the ball left the yard. The umpire will be required to fill out a post-game report explaining his decision.

Well, what do you think? Did Joe West get the call right? Or was his decision a violation of the Major League Baseball rules governing video review?

Best of NHL: Matt Murray, Penguins cruise past Habs

Best of NHL: Matt Murray, Penguins cruise past Habs

MONTREAL -- Eric Fehr and Jake Guentzel scored in the second period to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins past the Montreal Canadiens 4-1 on Wednesday night.

Defensemen Ian Cole and Olli Maatta also scored for Pittsburgh, which won its second game in a row after a three-game skid.

Sven Andrighetto scored for Montreal, which lost its second straight and has only two wins in its last six games. The Canadiens' offense remained in a rut coming off a 1-0 loss Monday in Detroit.

Penguins goalie Matt Murray was back in form after Monday's wild 8-7 win over Washington, making 19 saves. But Carey Price's woes continued as Pittsburgh outshot Montreal 26-20. Price allowed three or more goals for the eighth time in 10 games (see full recap).

Red Wings' Vanek, Nielsen score in 6-5 SO win over Bruins
DETROIT -- Thomas Vanek and Frans Nielsen scored in a shootout, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a comeback 6-5 win over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night.

The Red Wings rallied from 3-0 and 4-1 deficits in the first period, and with 3:04 remaining in regulation, Gustav Nyquist scored to pull them into a tie.

In the shootout, Tuukka Rask and Petr Mrazek stopped the first shots they faced before Vanek scored for the Red Wings and Brad Marchand countered with a goal for the Bruins. Nielsen, who like Vanek joined the team last summer as a free agent, scored on the team's third attempt and Vatrano missed the net with a chance to extend the 1-on-1 duels.

The Bruins were dominant early before blowing a chance to keep Detroit at a distance in the Atlantic Division standings (see full recap).

Burns, Pavelski lead Sharks past rival LA Kings, 3-2
LOS ANGELES -- Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels scored in the San Jose Sharks' seventh win at Staples Center in their last eight trips, 3-2 over the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night.

Joe Thornton had two assists and Martin Jones made 22 saves for the defending Western Conference champion Sharks, who wrapped up their regular-season series against their biggest rivals with three victories in five games.

After Burns scored his 19th goal in the opening minutes, San Jose hung on through a scoreless third period to continue its recent domination in downtown Los Angeles, including three victories in last season's first-round playoff series.

Tanner Pearson and Marian Gaborik scored for the Kings, who ended a seven-game homestand with four defeats (see full recap).

McDavid scores in overtime to lead Oilers past Panthers 4-3
EDMONTON, Alberta -- Connor McDavid scored the winning goal in overtime as the Edmonton Oilers won their fourth game in a row, 4-3 over the Florida Panthers on Wednesday night.

McDavid, who also had two assists in the game, got a breakaway late in overtime and got the puck away with 2.6 seconds left. Florida's James Reimer made the glove save, but the puck was ruled to be across the line via video review.

Zack Kassian, Mark Letestu and Jordan Eberle also scored for the Oilers, who have their longest winning streak since December 2015.

Vincent Trocheck, Michael Sgarbossa and Greg McKegg had goals for the Panthers, who have lost two straight (see full recap).

Joel Embiid, Sixers prove plenty with benchmark win over Raptors

Joel Embiid, Sixers prove plenty with benchmark win over Raptors

BOX SCORE

The Sixers weren’t supposed to beat the Raptors, were they? This was going to be an “easy” game for the visiting team, which was coming to Philadelphia on a back-to-back that started in Brooklyn. The Raptors are a playoff team, and second in the Eastern Conference at that. Not to mention, they had defeated the Sixers in their last 14 meetings.

Maybe easy would have been the case the last time the two teams played back in mid-December. For the Sixers, though, things have changed since then and a 94-89 win over the Raptors on Wednesday proved this recent success is not fleeting (see Instant Replay).

“I don’t think it’s a fluke,” Joel Embiid said. “We’re competing. We’re winning games. We’re playing great defense. We finally found what we’ve been looking for.”

The Sixers had been missing clearly-defined roles and a defensive identity (see story). Now that Brett Brown has whittled down his roster to 10 players and laid out a starting five and second unit, the team has been gelling in those two aspects. The Sixers have won seven out of their last nine games, with the Raptors being the highest caliber of competition.

The Raptors entered the game averaging 111.5 points per game, first in the East and third in the NBA behind only the Warriors and Rockets. They had scored less than 100 points in just seven games this season. Additionally, the Raptors had been held to under 90 points by a single opponent: the Spurs. Not bad company to be in. 

Embiid led all players with 26 points (including 12 for 14 from the free throw line) to go with nine rebounds (see highlights). The Sixers staved off 25 points (11 for 21 from the field), six assists and three rebounds from DeMar DeRozan and 24 points (11 for 16 from the line), four rebounds, four assists and five steals from Kyle Lowry, who fouled out. The Raptors shot 25 percent from three and 65.2 percent at the free throw line.  

“We’re playing with a spirit, we’re playing with a defensive mindset,” Brown said. “There is a belief within each other amongst the team that is the best that it’s been since I’ve been here.”

The Sixers' winning stretch began against subpar teams, opponents who earlier in the season some would look at the schedule and say, the Sixers could probably take that one, as they tried to project a batch of victories. The Sixers turned those wins over the Nuggets, Timberwolves and Nets into momentum and carried it into a matchup against the Knicks.

Even though the Knicks are looking lost this season, they still have veteran offensive firepower that can take over a game against a struggling opponent. The Sixers made noise by beating them at the buzzer, then escalated their performance against the postseason-hungry Hornets and Bucks. 

The Raptors are different, though. There is no questioning their success and potential to make a deep playoff run … again. Nonetheless, the Sixers handled this well-seasoned opponent with composure and confidence down the stretch. 

They stayed together when DeRozan hit a jumper with 1:53 to play to give the Raptors their first lead since the second quarter. The Sixers responded to the one-point deficit with a 7-0 run to push the edge up to six points with 20.7 seconds to go.

“I think it says we’re for real. It shows our consistency that we’ve built throughout the year,” Nerlens Noel said. “We’re relentless. We have a young group of guys that know how to play the game and play it the right way and will come out there and compete against anybody in this league. I think the perception should be a whole different one now.”

The Sixers showed they can compete with top talent. Their wins aren't just coming from teams at the bottom of the standings. 

"That gives us a lot of confidence," Embiid said. "Coming into the game, we had a lot of confidence. Winning against the second-best team in the East is just amazing. We’re going to keep on working."