Was it a hit?
Yeah, probably. Most of the time the official scorer is going to side with the batter when a rocket like the one Enrique Hernandez hit Sunday is sent at an infielder. Not always, but most of the time.
It was only the third inning, no one yet realizing how significant the call would be, when Hernandez hit the ball hard and directly to Cubs second baseman Starlin Castro. It took one hop and ricocheted off the heel of Castro’s glove and well away from him. By the time Castro retrieved the ball, he had no chance at a play.
Official scorer Jerry White ruled it an error. There was no outcry in the press box at the time, no noticeable outrage anywhere. Then Jake Arrieta went on to throw a no-hitter.
Should it have been ruled it a hit?
“Are you kidding me?” said Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
“I asked five of their players when they were on base. They all said it should have been a hit. But you know? He threw a great game. Hats off to him. It goes down as a no-hitter, but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that we lost. How it happened doesn’t matter.”
He has that latter part right. The Dodgers lost and had their five-game winning streak snapped. It burns a little deeper because they were no-hit just nine days earlier by Houston’s Mike Fiers -- but they helped his cause by chasing several pitches out of the strike zone. There was no doubt Sunday that Arrieta was dealing.
“Initially I thought it was a hit,” Arrieta said. “It was a tough play, a short hop. I think it was a cutter away, and he hit it pretty well. I thought it could have gone either way. I really wasn’t aware that it was an error until an inning or two later. It was kind of out of sight, out of mind. Even if it was a hit, I would have kept the same mindset. I’m trying to finish the game.”
Hernandez naturally thought it was a hit, and typically maybe the play would be reviewed the next day and the call changed. Maybe, but it’s certainly not going to happen now after the Cubs celebrated a no-hitter.
But it’s best the Dodgers forget about the call they did not get and move on. The arrival of the Giants on Monday for a three-game series should help with that.
So cool the outcry. The Dodgers had 26 other at-bats to get a hit and failed each time. White’s call was questionable, but that’s not the same as saying it was outlandish. After he made the call, White said he went back and looked at a replay twice and was satisfied he’d made the proper decision.
“The ball was hit right at him,” White said. “Hit hard, but ordinary effort. I thought if he stays down on the ball, he makes the play. He came up thinking the ball was coming up. When he did, the ball kicked off his mitt and, in my opinion, E4.”
Castro said it was an error. Manager Don Mattingly thought it was a hit, but was far from upset over the call.
“At this point, it doesn’t change the game in any way,” Mattingly said. “There’s no reason to talk about it and try to ruin anything that Jake was able to do tonight. I think it’s kind of a moot point.”
The Dodgers were no-hit again, and you’d best get used to it. There’s no time to whine about being robbed by a tough call. The no-hitter stands, and so does the schedule that brings in San Francisco.
Follow Steve Dilbeck on Twitter @SteveDilbeck