- Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers MLB for ESPN.com.
Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell wasn’t pleased with a second-inning obstruction call on his pitcher during the Brewers’ 6-2 loss to the Miami Marlins on Wednesday.
With one out and runners on first and third, Marlins second baseman Isan Diaz hit a soft ground ball between the pitcher’s mound and first base. Brewers starter Zack Godley easily fielded the ball as he moved toward the baseline and underhanded it to Daniel Vogelbach, who was standing at the bag.
Diaz was out by a large margin, but first-base umpire Marty Foster called obstruction on Godley.
“It was a terrible call,” Counsell said after the game. “I have no idea what Marty was trying to make up there [or] what he saw. It’s even worse looking at the replay than I thought he might have seen.
Both live and on replay, there didn’t seem to be much interaction between Godley and Diaz on the play, but Foster said contact isn’t needed to call obstruction, just the runner being forced to take a slightly different path to the bag.
“A player without a ball, without making a play on a ball, is standing in the basepath of the runner, impeding and hindering him,” Foster told a pool reporter. “And [Diaz] actually makes a jog to the right to get out of his way, to get out of Godley’s way. That’s clear-cut obstruction. It doesn’t have to be contact. It just has to be hinder or obstruct, and that’s what happened.”
The play eventually led to a second Marlins run in the inning, as Godley had issues with his command after that, throwing two wild pitches. It extended the inning and may have changed the course of the game.
“That had nothing to do with the play,” Brewers second baseman Kolten Wong said. “It was a routine ground ball out. It shouldn’t have been called. It didn’t make any sense. A play like that definitely changed the game.”
Counsell admitted it cost his team a run but wouldn’t go as far as saying it cost the Brewers the game. Godley was as confused as anyone.
“I had no idea he was calling that on me,” Godley said. “I was completely oblivious he was calling that on me. I was just baffled to what was going on.”
Even after Foster saw replays, he stood by his call, emphasizing the runner’s right to a clear path to the bag, no matter where he establishes his basepath.
“As it was, the runner definitely held up a little bit and then jogged to the right,” Foster said. “As that play is happening, that’s what the rule is.”
Counsell disagreed: “It just never happened. The play was over.”
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