8/28/2014 1:21 A.M. ET
Kluber miffed by post-review denial of warmup pitches
Following short review of play at the plate, umps say no to request
By Jordan Bastian / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- The Indians had no qualms about White Sox manager Robin Ventura requesting a crew-chief review on an out at the plate on Wednesday night. After all, the seventh-inning play was confirmed following a brief look at the instant-replay footage.
What bothered Cleveland was the fact that starting pitcher Corey Kluber was not allowed to throw a handful of warmup pitches after the review concluded. Both home-plate umpire Rob Drake and crew chief Joe West denied Kluber's request.
"That was disappointing," Indians manager Terry Francona said after the 3-2 loss to the White Sox. "At that point in the game, Klubes doesn't know how long they're going to be over there, so he doesn't want to keep throwing [during the review], because he was at a pretty high pitch count.
"I didn't think a couple of pitches would make the crowd go away. I thought some common sense would have prevailed a little bit."
The play in question came up with no outs and runners on second and third base for Chicago in the seventh inning. With the game stuck in a 2-2 tie, Kluber induced a chopper off the bat of Alexei Ramirez to Indians third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall, who gloved the grounder and fired a strike to catcher Roberto Perez.
After receiving the ball -- with plenty of time to retire Carlos Sanchez at the plate -- Perez appeared to be blocking the runner's path. The rookie catcher quickly took a step in front of the dish before then stepping back toward Sanchez in order to apply the tag.
Sanchez was ruled out, but Ventura wanted the umpires to check to see if Perez provided a lane to the plate. If it was deemed through a review that the catcher blocked the plate unnecessarily, Sanchez would have been ruled safe, giving the White Sox the go-ahead run.
Managers still feel there is a lot of gray area involved in the rules involving plays at the plate.
"It's always up for interpretation," Ventura said. "So, hopefully, something gets done there."
Perez was surprised that the play was reviewed at all, considering the runner was still several steps from home when the catcher had the ball.
"Yeah, I was," Perez said. "I even asked the umpire, 'If I catch the ball first, can I go at him?' He said, 'Yeah, you can.' But, I gave him the lane. I was surprised they [reviewed] the play. That was the first time in my career that happened to me."
What happened next is what miffed Kluber.
The pitcher has been on the mound for a handful of replay reviews, including one that lasted a few minutes in the eighth inning of his Aug. 15 start against the Orioles. Given the unpredictability of the length of any given review, the pitcher has developed a routine in which he warms up after the conclusion of the delay.
"If it's one of those four- or five-minute replays," Kluber explained, "what's the point of throwing as soon as they go over there and put the headset on? I've had instances where I've been out there this year and they're standing out there for three, four, five minutes. Am I just supposed to figure out how long a replay is going to take? I'm not even sure why they looked at that play, to be honest."
When Wednesday's review wrapped up after a quick 48-second conference with the Replay Operations Center in New York, Kluber asked to throw a few warmup pitches. Drake informed the pitcher that he should have done that during the review. Kluber then checked with West, but the pitcher was instructed to take the mound in order to resume the game.
"I understand that replay is part of the game now," Kluber said. "Tonight, I don't get the whole making-up-rules-as-we-go thing. Every other time I've been out there for a replay, I've waited until they finish the replay and then have thrown a couple pitches. All of a sudden, tonight I'm told that you're only allowed to throw pitches while they're reviewing the play.
"If the umpires are making up stuff as we're going, then the system needs to be looked at, I think."
The next batter, Jose Abreu, delivered an RBI single that helped the White Sox to the win.
Kluber did not blame the replay situation for allowing that costly hit.
"No, it didn't affect me," Kluber said. "I just made a couple mistakes tonight."