The Texas Rangers, currently 28.5 games out of first place in the AL West, resorted to some pretty Bush League baseball in their Thursday matinee versus the comatose Boston Red Sox.
31-year-old Mike Minor, a leading candidate for the league’s Comeback Player of the Year Award, came into Thursday’s game needing 9 strikeouts to reach 200 for the season.
With nothing to play for, the Rangers stuck with Minor the entire game despite Minor laboring for over 120 pitches and allowing 10 hits and 5 runs to the powerful Red Sox offense.
In the top of the ninth inning with one out and Minor still needing one strikeout for 200, Red Sox second baseman Chris Owings hit a fly ball down the first base line in foul territory. Rangers first baseman Ronald Guzman, hitting .217 with a 0.0 WAR in 85 games, easily got over to the ball but conveniently let it drop in front of him in an obvious attempt to miss it on purpose and let Minor have another shot at a strikeout.
In the video you can see the Rangers catcher yelling at Guzman while the ball is still in the air, likely for him to miss it.
Even the hometown Rangers announcers made allusions to Guzman clearly botching the ball intentionally.
The next pitch Owings struck out on a called strike three that appeared way out of the strike zone, as Minor was then lifted the very next pitch.
Fans quickly rushed to Twitter, calling the missed catch and questionable strike 3 call a blatant disgrace.
Minor is second in the Majors in WAR among pitchers and is expected to finish in the Top 5 of the American League Cy Young race.