Hidecki Matsui was on third base tonight for the Yankees, who led 3-2 in the sixth. There was one out, Raul Mondesi was at bat, and teh Yankees very much wanted the insurance run that Matsui represented. Mondesi hit a ball sharply on the ground but rightat Houston third baseman (and tax accountant) Morgan Ensberg who was close to the bag. Matsui instinctively went back to third and then realized he was running straight toward Ensberg and the ball. He twisted around and apparently avoided Ensberg's tag. Ensberg tossed the ball to first to get Mondesi on what he thought was an inning-ending doubleplay. Mastui raced home to give the Yankees the insurance run the needed as the ended up winning, 5-3.
I thought that Ensberg missed Matsui when I saw the play originally and none of the various replays convinced me otherwise. So even though Enberg and Astro manager Jimy Williams argued the call vehemently, I think that the ump made a good call on the tag. The replays should that he was in a good position to make the call.
So even though Ensberg had this to say on the play:
"I felt the tag, I touched him. He ran into my glove. You tag, and you turn and throw."
I aint buying.
But I think Matsui was out.
"Ancient Chinese secret, huh?" you say?
Rule 7.08 states and I quote:
Any runner is out when (a) (1) He runs more than three feet away from a direct line between bases to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball
It looked to me that in avoiding the tag Matsui ran outside the lines. It's hard to see in the replays but I thought I saw it. I might be wrong, but why can't the announcers at least gives us a replay that confirms or denies it or at least enetertain the idea of his running outside the lines. They are too concerned about giving us eight different angles on a tag play that was impossible to call at any angle. Of course, you never see an ump make a call on something so seemingly tangentially related to the play.