According to an industry source, the Red Sox declined to file an official, written protest to Major League Baseball during the 24-hour window they had to do so following Wednesday’s game against the Rays. As such, the protest is considered dropped.
Such an outcome seemed likely, perhaps even inevitable, given the sense of resignation expressed by Red Sox manager Alex Cora about the fate of his claim of a lineup mixup by the Rays and the umpiring crew of Angel Hernandez in Wednesday’s 3-2 loss.
Cora protested the game in the top of the eighth inning, after the Rays had pitcher Adam Kolarek move from the mound to first base (thus sacrificing the DH) with reliever Chaz Roe entering the game and then back to the mound in place of Kolarek. Cora protested when Kolarek was slotted into the designated hitter’s spot in the lineup (the third spot), rather than the No. 9 spot that had belonged to the first baseman at the start of the inning.
But for a protest to be upheld, MLB would have to find not only a rules misapplication but also a demonstrable impact on the outcome of the game. In such an instance, the game would be replayed from the point of the misapplied rule — from the point of Kolarek’s return to the mound with one out.
But given that the Rays already led at the time of the protest, 3-2, and won by the same score, the Red Sox recognized their protest stood little chance of being upheld. Moreover, according to one league source, Kolarek was indeed supposed to be moved to the third spot in the order (replacing DH Austin Meadows) when he went from the mound to first base, meaning there was no wrongful finding to protest.
The Red Sox thus recognized there was little ground to file a report.
“I think it’s going nowhere,” Cora said of the protest on Thursday afternoon.
Cora was asked if he planned to drop the protest.
“Not at this time. Not yet. But the chances are . . . ” the Red Sox manager said before trailing off. “Let’s leave it there.”
Evidently, the Red Sox did just that, letting the matter drop.
Alex Speier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.