After Wilmer Flores checked his swing, Will Smith pointed his finger toward first-base umpire Gabr Morales, which was to prompt an appeal which would either result in a strikeout which secured a Game 5 victory and an NLDS clincher forthe Los Angeles Dodgers, or with another chance to drive the game-tying run by 1-2 count for Flores.
Perched behind the bag, pumped his fist and Morales stared back at home plate. Antoan Richardson, who is a First-base coach buried his face in his hands. Kris Bryant, who had reached on a Justin Turner error earlier in the inning, decided to drop his shoulders and began walking to the San Francisco dugout. Flores, who had been called for a controversial game-ending strike, raised his left hand in disbelief.
After the game, crew chief Ted Barrett was questioned if Morales stood by his call after reviewing replays.
“Yeah, no, we, yeah, yeah, he doesn’t want to say,” Barrett said.
That is just the type of clarity you want with a team’s season on the line.
The dubious check-swing call against Flores earned Max Scherzer his first career save and the Dodgers a 2-1 victory, advancing them to the NLCS against the Braves. “Check swings are one of the hardest calls we make,” Morales said after the game, and those aren’t moments that managers can challenge under MLB’s replay rules.
According to the MLB’s replay review glossary, eleven types of calls are reviewable and thus challengeable, and each manager is given two challenges during playoff games versus one during regular-season games. Check-swing calls and pitch location, on the other hand, aren’t among the plays that can be scrutinized.
After the game, Mookie Betts stated in a TBS interview that he didn’t think Flores swung, according to USA Today, “but I’m not the one who makes the decisions. It is what it is.” San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler added that “it looked like he didn’t go.”