Ump Show: Potential Red Sox rally stifled by foot-high strike zone

The Red Sox got completely hosed in the final frame against the Marines. Welcome back to the Ump Show!

Boston Red Sox v Seattle Mariners
Boston Red Sox v Seattle Mariners / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

Fan expectations for the Boston Red Sox could not have been lower coming into Opening Day for the 2024 season after the "full-throttle" promise deserved the qualifier of "on a moped that runs on peanut oil". But after an Opening Day win over the Seattle Mariners on the road, there was a tinge of optimism.

That optimism continued into the Friday night encore in Seattle, the second game of the four-game set against the Mariners. Nick Pivetta produced a 10-strikeout performance and allowed only one run in his first start of the season, a solo shot from J.P. Crawford. But the Red Sox offense hadn't gotten on the board going into the top of the ninth inning, trailing 1-0.

Triston Casas led off the final frame and appeared to be in line to get on base and start a potential rally. He worked a 3-1 count against flamethrower Andrés Munoz and was looking patient at the dish. Then Munoz threw a fastball that was clearly several inches below the zone... but instead of the walk, umpire David Rackley called it strike two.

It only got worse from there.

Red Sox fall victim to Ump Show with terrible strike calls vs. Mariners

After Rackley's egregious strike-two call, he followed it up with another blown call for strike three, once again well below the zone and wringing up Casas in the process for the first out of the inning.

Casas was the first out of the inning, and Munoz then continued to strike out Cedanne Rafaela and Pablo Reyes to end the game and give the Red Sox a 1-0 loss.

Had the young star first baseman gotten on base by way of a walk, there's no guarantee that anything about the outcome of the game would've changed. But there's also no guarantee that it wouldn't have changed the outcome of the game either.

There are a lot of problems with the almost imminent robot umpires coming, but when you have these guys behind the plate missing so egregiously in the biggest moments of games, it's hard to argue against the robots. These are the types of calls that can't be missed, especially when they aren't even close to the strike zone.

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