That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: A disputed check swing and why rule should be changed

A moment that will be discussed for years to come the Wilmer Flores check swing ruled a strike by first base umpire Gabe Morales in the bottom of the ninth during the NLDS game 5 on Thu Oct 14, 2021 at Oracle Park in San Francisco for the last out against the Los Angeles Dodgers (AP News photo)

A Disputed Check Swing and Why Rule should be Changed

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

Thousands of people at Oracle Park in San Francisco and millions across the country witnessed a terrible call by first base umpire Gabe Morales, (after a request asking for help, from the home plate umpire) decided a Wilmer Flores “swing” for the third strike, thus ending Game 5 which Dodgers won 5-4 over the Giants. Dodgers advanced to the NLCS and Giants went home for the winter.

During the past several years baseball has been changing many things, mostly trying to speed up the game. Here is one rule that they should change. What we all witness happens more often than you think, probably thousands of times during games in the regular season, but what made it much more blatant was it was the last out of a very important game with a huge television audience. TBS telecast of this game delivered the biggest audience this postseason so far.

Baseball uses six (6) umpires during the postseason, the regular four (4) on the infield, plus two (2) are added, one on left field and one in right field. We know this is done for the sake of accuracy because these are much more important games than the 162-regular season affairs. This rule (see MLB rules below) should be revised and possibly changed. The rule in question is very nebulous.

For the record: Wilmer Flores, prior to the questioned at-bat and during his career, never got a hit from Max Scherzer in 17 turns at the plate with 8 strikeouts. The probability that Flores was going to get a hit against this pitcher was very low, but just like baseball is not played on paper but on the field, baseball is also not played in probability but in actual time on the field. The Giants, including their manager Gabe Kapler showed a lot of class, considering what happened during what was out number 27 and the last one of that crucial game for both teams.

As of today I have never met a robot and had a conversation with one or somebody that walked on water and never made a mistake, I believe umpire Gabe Morales also was very candid after the game when he said the following (quote) “Check swings are one of the hardest calls we have. I don’t have the benefit of multiple camera angles when I’m watching it live. When it happened live, I thought he went, so that’s why I called it a swing.” (end of quote) Check swings are interpreted many ways by different umpires, not reliable when it comes to consistency. It is like the argument “what came first the chicken or the egg”?

Major League Baseball has a lot on their agenda this winter, especially negotiating a new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) describing the rules of employment and financial structure of the game. The most recent was finalized on November 30, 2016 and last until December 1, 2021. This is a big deal for both sides, owners, and players, and will take a very good effort from both sides.

I am sure MLB still will have time on how to correct the controversial “check swing” rule, a very confusing rule that makes umpires more vulnerable and open for mistakes based on interpretation. This is the link to the Official Baseball rules.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the lead broadcaster for Oakland A’s Spanish radio on 1010 KIQI Le Grande San Francisco and does News and Commentary at

Bellinger wins it for Dodgers ends season for Giants 2-1

The Los Angeles Dodgers Mookie Betts connects for a single in the fourth inning in front of San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey in game 5 of the NLDS at Oracle Park in San Francisco (AP News photo)

By Jeremy Kahn

SAN FRANCISCO-Of the series between the two best teams in Major League Baseball in 2021 came down the final at-bat and it was the Los Angeles Dodgers standing in the end.

Cody Bellinger hit a seeing eye single in the top of the ninth inning that scored Justin Turner from second base, helping the Dodgers to a 2-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants in Game Five of the National League Division Series before a crowd of 42,275 at Oracle Park.

I actually did think he had a fastball and I thought the slider was and Bellinger was not able to get underneath it until that one swing, said Giants manager Gabe Kapler.

The Bellinger single gave the Dodgers the lead for good and Game Three starter Max Scherzer came on to close it out for the Dodgers, who move on to their second NLCS appearance and their fifth appearance in the last six years.

Scherzer did run into some trouble in the bottom of the ninth inning, as after he got Brandon Crawford to fly out to Chris Taylor in right field, Turner committed a fielding error at third base that allowed Kris Bryant reach first base that brought LaMonte Wade, Jr., who became the late inning hero for the Giants during the season; however, Wade, Jr., was unable to be the hero, when he struck out for the second out of the inning and then Scherzer got Wilmer Flores on a check swing to end the game, the series and the season for the Giants.

It looked like he did not go. I mean that was my take on it, said Kapler.

Turner reached with one out in the inning after he was hit on the shoulder on a pitch thrown by losing pitcher Camilo Doval, who then gave up a single to Gavin Lux and then Bellinger singled to right field to score Turner with the series winning run for the defending World Champion Dodgers, who will face the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS beginning on Saturday night at Truist Park in Atlanta. This will be the second year in a row that the Dodgers and the Braves will face each other in the NLCS, last season, the Dodgers came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the NLCS in seven games.

The Dodgers finally got to Logan Webb in the top of the sixth inning, Corey Seager hit a flare down the left field line for a double, that scored Mookie Betts from second base to break up the scoreless tie.

Betts was the star of the game for the Dodgers, as he went four-for-four at the plate, including a double in the top of the sixth inning that came right before Seager dropped the double down the left field line that gave the Dodgers the lead for a short period of time.

The four hits by Betts were a postseason career high.

He is one of the best players in baseball for a reason. He is a pretty incredible player and pretty incredible guy, honestly, said Logan Webb.

Darin Ruf tied up the game with one swing of the bat in the bottom of the sixth inning, as he launched a solo home run over the center field wall. It was the first career post season home run for Ruf.

Julio Urias, who pitched a masterpiece on Saturday in the 9-2 win by the Dodgers gave up the home run to Ruf. Urias, who went five innings on Saturday night, as he allowed one run on three hits, walking one, striking out five and threw 72 pitches looked unhittable until Ruf unloaded on the 3-2 pitch that tied up the game.

In all, Urias went four innings, allowing one run on three hits, walking no one and striking out five on four days rest.

Webb, who struck out 10 in the Game One victory for the Giants, came back to throw seven innings, allowing one run on four hits, walking one and striking out seven in his second career postseason career start.

I felt good. Everything was moving the way I wanted to, and yeah it was good. Buster caught a great game, said Webb.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who originally stated that he was going to start Urias instead started Corey Knebel, who pitched the first inning, where he allowed just a double to Buster Posey and nothing else before turning the ball over to the bullpen.

Brusdar Graterol then came up on to replace Knebel, as he also went one inning, allowing two hits and was able to strand two runners on base, when he struck out Webb to end the threat and the inning.

Tyler Rogers came on to replace Webb in the top of the eighth inning, and he got into a jam after he led off the inning by getting Taylor to fly out to Bryant in center field, but then A.J. Pollock came off the bench to pinch hit for Blake Treinen and reached on an infield single that went off the glove of Wilmer Flores.

Betts then came up with his fourth hit of the game to put runners on first and second with one out, but then Rogers struck out Seager for the second out of the inning and that was end of the night for Rogers, who was replaced by Camilo Doval, who on one pitch got Trea Turner to fly out to Austin Slater in right field to get out of the inning and the jam.

NOTES: This was the 27th postseason appearance for the Giants and the 13th since they moved to California in 1958, and it was the first time that the Giants and Dodgers ever faced off versus each other in the postseason.

Kapler is the fifth consecutive Giants manager to lead his team to the postseason, joining Roger Craig (1987, 1989), Dusty Baker (1997, 2000 and 2002), Felipe Alou (2003), Bruce Bochy (2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016) and Kapler (2021).

UP NEXT: The season is over for the Giants, who will meet up again in Spring Training in February of 2022 at Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, Arizona.

On the other hand, the Dodgers will head to Atlanta, where they will face the Braves beginning on Saturday night in the NLCS.

This is the 15th trip to the NLCS for the Dodgers, breaking the tie with the St. Louis Cardinals for the most trips to the NLCS since divisional play began in 1969.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: Red Sox wait for Astros or White Sox; Braves on the brink; Giants coming off some miracle pitching need one more

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora (left) is Amaury’s pick for the 2021 Manager of the Year Award here he has a laugh with bench coach Tim Hyers (right) during game 3 of the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays Sat Oct 9, 2021 at Fenway Park in Boston (AP News photo)

On That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary:

#1 The Boston Red Sox who have had their share of walk off wins now wait for their next opponent after getting a ninth inning walk off in their game four victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night. The Red Sox will face either the Houston Astros or the Chicago White Sox.

#2 The Houston Astros who have a 2-1 ALDS series lead over the Chicago White Sox tonight at Guarantee Rate Field in Chicago need one more to advance to the ALCS and face the Boston Red Sox. But not before battling with Tony LaRussa’s White Sox. Chicago knows they have their backs to the wall against a very well prepared Dusty Baker’s Houston Astros.

#3 The Atlanta Braves have had just nothing short of great pitching in their last two games against the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLDS. The Braves got two back to back shutouts by scores of 3-0 to take a 2-1 lead in the series after the Brewers took game 1. The Brewers will be starting Eric Lauer a left hander against the Braves Charlie Morton in game five today at Trusit Park in Cobb County.

#4 The San Francisco Giants got their wins on shutouts against the Los Angeles Dodgers mighty line up. The Dodgers are without Max Muncy and Clayton Kershaw during this NLDS did that handicap them? The Dodgers got an offensive outburst in game 2 with a 9-2 win against Giants starter Kevin Gausman. The Giants got shutouts out of pitchers Logan Webb and Alex Webb in games 1 and 2 but really depend on starter Anthony DeScafani who matches up against the Dodgers Tony Gonsolin in game four tonight at Dodgers Stadium.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez does News and Commentary podcasts each Tuesday at

Urias comes up huge at the plate and on the mound in Dodgers win 9-2

Los Angeles Dodgers starter Julio Urias leans over the Dodgers dugout railing along the first base side at Oracle Park in San Francisco during game 2 of the NLDS on Sat Oct 9, 2021 (@Dodgers photo)

By Jeremy Kahn

SAN FRANCISCO-Julio Urias came with the biggest hit for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and it helped the defending World Champions get even.

Urias singled to right field immediately after Kevin Gausman intentionally walked A.J. Pollock to get Urias, and the plan backfired, helping the Dodgers to a 9-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants before a sellout crowd of 42,275 at Oracle Park.

It’s a good feeling, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. It’s interesting how the narrative changes from game to game. Right now, it’s a three-game series, we have home-field advantage and we have Max (Scherzer) on the mound. I like where we’re at.

With the victory by the Dodgers, it tied up the National League Division Series between the two longtime rivals.

Obviously looking forward to turning the page on tonight’s game and getting ready for Los Angeles,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “It was not our best effort tonight. Dodgers just swung the bats better than us, made more pitches than us, made more plays than us.

Mookie Betts followed up the Urias single with one of his own that scored Pollock; however, Gausman was able to get out of the inning by striking out Corey Seager to end the inning.

Chris Taylor, who sent the Dodgers into the Division Series, when he hit a two-run walk-off home run off of Anthony Reyes on Wednesday night, led off the inning with a double off of Gausman and scored the first run of the game for the Dodgers.

Urias, who went 20-3 during the regular season pitched the first five innings for the Dodgers, as he allowed one run on just two hits, walking one and striking out five, as the series heads to Dodger Stadium tied up at a game apiece.

I felt good, Urias said. I thought the pitches were working really well. It is the fifth or sixth time I have seen them so it is a little bit trickier to get through that lineup, but I felt good Offensively the team put some runs and all in all it was a good game.

Gausman, who was making his first ever postseason start went 5.1 innings, allowing four runs on four hits, walking three and striking out seven. This was not the first postseason appearance for Gausman, as he appeared in four games in the 2014 postseason for the Baltimore Orioles and in 2018 for the Atlanta Braves.

I mean I made, I thought I made a pretty good adjustment after the second inning, Gausman said. After then, I felt like I kind of got in my zone a little bit and retired a lot of hitters in a row. Obviously, I wish I would have got through that sixth inning.

The Giants cut the Dodgers lead in half in the bottom of the second inning, as Wilmer Flores led off the inning with a walk, moved to second on a Brandon Crawford single. Flores then went to third on an Evan Longoria fly out to Taylor in centerfield and then scored on a Donnie Solano fly out to Taylor.

Unfortunately, that is all that the Giants muster against Urias, and finally in the top of the sixth inning, the Dodgers broke the game open from an unlikely source this season; however, a former Most Valuable Player.

With the bases loaded and one out, Cody Bellinger, who won the National League Most Valuable Player in 2019, and who was mired in a season long slump after being injured earlier in the year, came with a two-run double that gave the Dodgers a commanding 4-1 lead and then scored Pollock hit a two-run double of his own that gave the Dodgers a commanding 6-1 lead.

Crawford picked up his second run batted in of the series, as he singled to right field to score LaMonte Wade, Jr., who came off the bench to pinch hit for Austin Slater and drew a walk against Joe Kelly.

Mookie Betts came up with the defensive play of the night that killed the Giants rally that ended the bottom of the sixth inning.

Sometimes you just do things you can’t really explain, Betts said of his play. And that was just one of them.

Crawford singled to score Wade, Jr., however, on the play, Wilmer Flores, who was on first base try to test Betts and go to third, but Betts made a perfect throw to Justin Turner to get Flores and not only end the inning but the threat as well.

Yeah, 100 percent, Flores said. I just thought the ball was more in the corner, No, it was my decision.

Will Smith then greeted Zack Littell rather rudely, as he launched a solo home run deep into the San Francisco night on the first pitch that Littell allowed in the top of the eighth inning.

Taylor and Pollock each picked up singles in between Bellinger, who struck out for the third time on the evening.

Matt Beaty came up with a pinch-hit single that scored Taylor and after Jarlin Garcia came on to replace Littell, Seager singled to right field to score Pollock.

The usual stellar Giants bullpen was anything but that on this night, as the quintet of Dominic Leone, Jake McGee, Littell, Garcia and Kervin Castro pitched the final 4.2 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits, walking just one and striking out just two.

The quartet of Joe Kelly, Brusdar Graterol, Corey Knebel and Phil Bickford pitched the final four innings, allowing one run on three hits, walking one and striking out three.

Buster Posey was a bright spot for the Giants despite the seven-run loss that tied up the series, as the veteran catcher went 3-for-4 on the night against Dodgers pitching.

NOTES: When Posey singled in the bottom of the sixth inning, it was the 54th career hit postseason hit for him, passing former teammate Pablo Sandoval.

When Posey caught the shutout in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Dodgers, it was the 13th time that the Giants won a game via the shutout, by far the most in MLB history, this according to Elias Sports Bureau. The 13 shutouts are five ahead of Yadier Molina (8) and six ahead of Yogi Berra (7). In his career, Posey has been a part of exactly half of the Giants postseason shutouts in team history.

Logan Webb became just the fourth Giants pitcher ever to strikeout 10 or more in his playoff debut, joining Carl Hubbell in Game Three of the 1933 World Series versus the Washington Senators, Tim Lincecum in Game One of the 2010 NLDS versus the Atlanta Braves and Jonathan Sanchez in Game Three of the 2010 NLDS. In all of those instances, the Giants won the World Series.

UP NEXT: Alex Wood will start Game 3 for the Giants of the NLDS against the Dodgers on Monday night at Dodger Stadium. During the 2021 season, the Giants were 12-2 with Wood on the mound after a loss. Scherzer will make his second postseason startfor the Dodgers in 2021, as he went 4.1 innings, in the Wild Card game on Wednesday night.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: The Wild Card Game-Will It Be History?

The Los Angeles Dodgers Cody Bellinger scores ahead of Chris Taylor who hit the game winning two run home run in the bottom of the ninth on Wed Oct 6, 2021 at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles in the NL Wild Card game to advance to face the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS on Fri Oct 8, 2021 (AP News photo)

The Wild Card Game – Will It be History?

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Major League Baseball Wild Card game was added to the postseason in 2012. I would be surprised if the powers to be, maintain the Wild Card Game for years to come. Once in a while, you get a great result that makes justice from a Wild Card game. Best example: the LA Dodgers who won 106 games and finished second to the 107-win-season of the SF Giants defeated the St Louis Cardinals and therefore the Dodgers advanced to what should be an epic showdown in the National League Divisional Series against the SF Giants. These great rivals (only surpassed by the Yankees vs Red Sox rivalry) will face each other for the first time in a postseason since 1883 when both franchises played in New York.

(History) In 1951 both the NY Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers finished season with identical record. Played a NL 3-game tie-breaker series to decide the winner. In game three Giants Bobby Thompson hit the walk off home run known as “Shot ‘Heard ‘Round the World”. I believe the Wild Card should also be a 3-game series, not a one-game win or go home.

In a sport where you play a 162 game season, there is no reason than a team that finishes with 106 wins, which could have won anyplace except their own division, has to play an elimination game in order to stay alive in the playoffs.

It just doesn’t make any sense. If the Cardinals would have eliminated the Dodgers, everybody and their uncle, would be talking today about it and forever. Okay, so everybody agrees that baseball is a marathon.

A marathon is a a race of 26.1 miles. Have you ever seen a marathon where the winner is then asked to run a 100 meter sprint with the guy that finished behind, to decide the race?

This 2021 was a great season for baseball, specially after a covid-shortened 60 game season last year. A week ago there was a chaotic scenario in the American League, where a total of 4 teams could have finished in a tie fighting for two (2) wild card spots.

That did not happened, but it will repeat itself under the current playoff structure. Although I understand the other opinion, where people say “that’s a lot of fun” to have a half dozen teams involved at the end of the season, prior to the postseason.

A lot of casual fans, the ones that do not attend baseball games with frequency, love to watch a game where one team celebrates and the other team cry. It is the thrill and drama of a guaranteed conclusion.

We can all expect more changes in baseball in the years to come and I cannot say today that the Wild Card game is here to stay. The season will come to an end later this month and we will crown a new champion. The most exciting game in baseball is not the Wild Card game, the most exciting game in baseball is the seventh game of the World Series. Period.

Amaury Pi-González elected the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame (BARHOF), Cuban Sports Hall of Fame (Miami), Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame, Advisory Board of ASA (American Sportscasters Association) NYC, Broadcasting sports for over 40 years, and does News and Commentary at

San Francisco Giants podcast with Michael Duca: A rivalry series for the ages Dodgers and Giants face off Friday night at Oracle

San Francisco Giants starter Logan Webb acknowledges the Oracle Park crowd on the last day of the regular season on Sun Oct 3, 2021 as he is relieved in the eighth inning from pitching against the San Diego Padres. Webb will be the starting pitcher Fri Oct 8, 2021 against the Los Angeles Dodgers for game 1 of the NLDS in San Francisco (AP News photo)

On the Giants podcast with Michael:

#1 Logan Webb Giants starter has been sensational all season talk about how he’s handled the Dodgers when he’s had to face them?

#2 Kevin Gausman starter has been lights out and has had a career season. With his mix of pitches do you see him keeping the Dodgers off balance.

#3 The Dodgers are missing Clayton Kershaw and Max Muncy. That didn’t seem to slow the Dodgers down in their come back on the Cardinals. That said how much will the absence of Kershaw and Muncy impact this club going into Division series.

#4 The Dodgers have been on the Giants heels in the NL West all season long. Giants manager Gabe Kapler has been able to stay of ahead of them talk about the job Kapler has done this season.

#5 Walker Buehler Dodgers starter 16-4 ERA 2.47 is one of the Dodgers aces. The Giants were able to beat him this season how do you see the Giants hitting against Buehler in this upcoming series.

Michael does the Giants podcasts each Thursday at

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: The Ultimate Baseball Face-off – Dusty Baker vs Tony LaRussa

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker (left) and Chicago White Sox manager Tony LaRussa meet at Minute Maid Field in Houston on Thu Oct 7, 2021 for game 1 of the ALDS (file photo NBC Sports)

The Ultimate Baseball Face-off – Dusty Baker vs Tony LaRussa

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

The American League Divisional Series is an attractive one. Two of the best hitting teams in all of baseball with very good pitching also. Manager Dusty Baker of the AL Western Division Champion Houston Astros, who will host Tony La Russa Manager of the Chicago White Sox Champion of the AL Central Division. Two excellent managers, who both return to the show after a few years of “unemployment”.

The two managers cut their teeth here in the Bay Area, Tony (The Hall of Famer) with the Athletics and Dusty (The Players Manager) with the Giants, they are two “old school” managers, not necessarily going by today’s super hyper stats of high-velocity pitches and hits, infield shifts, launch angle and all the other stuff which some media and fans overdose these days. Both not afraid of using the bunt, sacrifice, or as well as the hit and run or ‘run and hit’ and very much manage with their guts in-game situation.

Tony LaRussa is the active manager with the most wins ever 2,821, which places him second all-time behind the legendary owner and manager of the Philadelphia Athletics, Connie Mack who won a total of 3,731 baseball games.

Dusty Baker occupies No.12 in the all-time managers in wins with 1,987. Having covered both managers and traveled with them, there is a rivalry between both, the two oldest managers in baseball this season, Tony 77, Dusty 72.

They both speak conversational Spanish. In the 1980’s I recorded “El Show de Tony LaRussa” which was a three minute inside pregame show for radio. Tony would talk about the previous game with his take as a manager. With Dusty, many times I interviewed him including in the late 1990s when he was managing the Giants including 2002 when he won the National League Pennant and lost the World Series to the LA Angels.

This American League Divisional Series begins this Thursday, October 7 at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros, who finished the season with 95-67 winning the West, while the Chicago White Sox ended with 93-69. This is the best-of-5 and Houston owns home-field advantage. Prediction: It will be a 5 game series. Houston is a much experienced postseason-proven team than Chicago. They didn’t clinch until the last week of the regular season.

Chicago White Sox won the Central Division (the weakest in baseball, second-place Cleveland Indians finished 13 games from Chicago). The Sox had their share of injuries, but they were never really challenged, they are a dynamic and mostly young ball club, which many critics believe (before the season) that LaRussa would be “too old” to win with this young group of players, but he proved those guys wrong and here is another Tony LaRussa team in the postseason.

Some great hitters for Houston in the series: José Altuve, Carlos Correa, Jordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, Yuliesky Gurriel, who just won the league batting title with a .319 average, which today is the equivalent of hitting .340 decades ago, a breakthrough year for Kyle Tucker who was a First Round pick in the 2015 Draft, for the Astros and ended this season with his best numbers at 24 years of age, hit .294 with 30 home runs and 92 RBI. Their rotation is solid and a good bullpen to complete the game.

The Chicago White Sox can swing it with anybody. Tim Anderson, José Abreu, Yoán Moncada, Luis Robert, César Hernández, Eloy Jiménez, Yasmani Grandal, some of the names that can hit and hit for power. A very good pitching staff with Carlos Rodón, Lucas Giolito, Lance Lynn, Dylan Cease, and a very strong bullpen with Craig Kimbrel and Liam Hendricks to close the game.

I give the edge to Houston in 5 games, but if Chicago wins, they have the potential to run the table and go all the way and win the World Series.

About the Wild Card game: (Note) I never liked the Wild Card game, just one game to decide a season. The LA Dodgers won 106 games this year and finished second. The first team ever to finish with 106 wins and not win their division. The Dodgers play the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday, Oct 6.

The winner advances, the other team goes home. Just image winning 106 games and getting eliminated in the first round of the postseason? Something is not right here. This is not the NFL. Solution? Wild Card should be the best of 3 games. Just reduce the season to 152 games instead of 162 to even the whole year schedule, so the World Series doesn’t end by Thanksgiving Day. Who really likes the ‘due or die games’? Fans and especially, television, who usually score very good ratings.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez call post season baseball on CBS Spanish radio and reported for Telemundo TV and does News and Commentary at