The Atlanta Braves weren't able to put any runs on the board during game one of their NLDS matchup with the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday. Truist Park was stunned that the record-breaking offense they'd come to know and love suddenly went cold.
Playoff baseball isn't without controversy and is certainly expected. The Braves' 3-0 loss at the hands of the Phillies certainly had some of that.
There were two calls at second base that prompted challenges from each dugout. Ozzie Albies tried to steal second base in the bottom of the second and was originally called safe. He was deemed out after review.
The second call came during the bottom of the fourth as Matt Olson advanced to second on a ground ball by Ozzie Albies. Olson appeared to beat the throw from Trea Turner at second to break up the chance at getting the final out of the inning. However, Olson was called out initially. Atlanta requested a review and it was as clear as day that Olson should be safe. The call was correctly overturned.
That was the majority of the controversy for the game on Saturday until we reached the top of the 8th inning. Philadelphia loaded the bases and Pierce Johnson had J.T. Realmuto in a 2-1 count trying to get out of the inning.
Catcher Interference Angers Fans
It seemed that Johnson had gotten strike two on Realmuto and had a chance at escaping the inning. Unfortunately, what looked like a swing and a foul ball turned into the 3rd run of the game for the Phillies. It was deemed catcher interference on Sean Murphy.
Murphy seemed to react by dropping his glove a little bit and Realmuto immediately headed for first base as if he knew it had happened as well. Sean reached back for a baseball but as soon as he realized the call that was made, he reacted by slapping his glove on his knee in frustration.
The Braves opted to challenge the play and to the naked eye, you cannot see anything that indicates the bat hitting Murph's glove. That led to the call standing as there wasn't enough evidence to overturn the call.
Sean said after the game that he heard it but that he didn't feel it. So, it clearly was the right call despite what the replay indicated.
Jomboy, who is notorious for doing excellent breakdowns of controversial moments, featured a video later that evening that seems to show proof of catcher interference occurring. It appears Realmuto's bat grazed a string on Murphy's glove. You'll have to watch and judge for yourself.
Regardless of seeing it broken down in slow motion now, fans at the game saw what we all did initially and it looked like nothing happened. This led to fans being angry at the call being upheld instead of overturned.
This led to a familiar scene as fans began throwing things on the field which interrupted gameplay for a few minutes. It's disappointing to see that kind of behavior as it doesn't do anything to change the outcome and can endanger the players and other fans.
Brian Snitker said as much post-game as he's been a part of this type of thing before.
"“There is no excuse for that. I’ve been on the field when that’s happened, it’s scary because when those water bottles when they come, they are like grenades. It could really seriously injure one of our players. That’s uncalled for.”"- Brian Snitker
This type of incident is familiar to Brian Snitker as he was a part of something similar at Turner Field just a little over a decade ago. Snitker was the third base coach for the Braves at the time of this infamous incident.
On Oct. 5, 2012, the Braves ended up losing to the Cardinals, 6-3 during a Wild Card playoff game. Runners were on first and second with one out in the sixth inning and Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons popped up to left field.
Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma was backing up and called for the ball. However, for some reason, he pulled up on the ball and it hit the turf. I don't know if he thought Matt Holliday was going to catch it or what.
It looked like the Braves might have life left and a chance to get themselves back in the game. Unfortunately, for some ridiculous reason, left-field umpire Sam Holbrook signaled for the infield fly rule.
Braves fans will remember this all too well as the ball landed in the outfield grass and wasn't close to the infield. This led to a very long delay as Braves fans threw so much debris on the field including beer bottles. It was not a proud moment for Atlanta fans and quite frankly was a bad look. The anger was understandable but certainly was not worth that.
Luckily, Saturday's game wasn't as lengthy of a delay and things got back underway relatively quickly. Initially, I was angry as well but the more I thought about it and upon reviewing the Jomboy video, it definitely was the right call.
Two veteran catchers immediately reacted as if they knew it had happened. I'm sure Murphy would have put up more of a fight if he really thought it didn't touch his glove. It was an unfortunate situation to add to an already unfortunate night for the Braves.
Atlanta will hope for better results during game two of the NLDS on Monday evening as they send veteran ace Max Fried to the mound.