The Red Sox had to go to the league office in order to get a clear enough explanation about what exactly happened during that Willson Contreras at-bat Saturday.
In one of the more impressive examples of using the pitch clock to one’s advantage, Contreras got Boston closer Kenley Jansen to commit a pair of violations during his ninth-inning at-bat. That resulted in Contreras walking, and he would later score the tying run in the 4-3 comeback win.
The rule states that batters have to be in the box and looking at the pitcher by the time there is eight seconds on the clock. In an effort to limit quick-pitching, pitchers cannot come set until the batter is in the box.
What Contreras was doing was keeping his eyes at Jansen and seeming alert, but he kept one foot out of the box until the last second. Twice, Jansen came set before Contreras had both feet in the box, resulting in violations.
Sox manager Alex Cora tried to get an explanation for the violation from the umpire, but didn’t walk away with much clarity. He told Gresh & Fauria the Red Sox ultimately discussed it with the league.
“I went out and said what’s going on here. And he kind of explained it, but not really clear,” Cora said. “We talked to the league, we saw what happened, the league has done an amazing job making adjustments throughout with the pitch clock and everything. …
“In this particular instance, it was the hitter taking advantage of the rule. For our end, it wasn’t great. Kenley accepted that he made a mistake, he’s going to get better. But at the same time, talking to the league, they’re going to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
As Cora alluded to, ultimately it was a gaffe on Jansen’s part. But the whole situation proved a confusing one.
“The whole time (the umpire) was going to the wrist, like it was a clock violation, and obviously it wasn't a clock violation because it was always at eight or nine. We checked with our replay guy and he was a little confused by the whole thing, because we thought there was another sign for this type of violation, and the way they explained it, there’s not.
"Talking to the league and talking to the other umpires, I made sure with this new crew we went over the play and they said hey we will let you know what’s going on. The way they’re saying it, the guy was not that clear about what was going on and that’s why everybody was confused. …
“I think it was just the explanation of the situation, because he kept saying just make eye contact. It wasn’t the eye contact, it was actually the left foot being outside the box.”