Friday night’s game between the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox went into an ill-timed rain delay in the bottom of the ninth inning. The trigger for the delay wasn’t so much the rain as it was the pitcher.
The White Sox called in closer Liam Hendriks to preserve a 4-2 lead over the Tigers in the 9th. However, Hendriks ended up taking the mound during a heavy downpour in Detroit. With the game three outs from completion, the umpires understandably wanted to push through and try to get the contest over with. After throwing one pitch, however, Hendriks was not having it, and essentially refused to pitch any further.
The White Sox closer angrily threw the baseball away and could be seen yelling “it’s all wet” at home plate umpire Chris Conroy. Conroy acknowledged that he was well aware of how slick the ball was. As White Sox manager Tony La Russa emerged from the dugout, presumably to back his closer, the umpires accepted that Hendriks had a point and called for a delay.
Hendriks only needed to get three outs to finish the game. That’s almost certainly why the umpires were trying to push onward. However, Hendriks’ frustration was entirely warranted. Pitching in those conditions can lead to mistakes, and could even be dangerous to hitters if the pitcher can’t get a good grip and control where the ball is going.
The good news is as long as the tarp rollout goes better than this one did, finishing the game should be rather straightforward.