Dodgers: Awful call vs Giants might end up deciding NL West race

Adam Weinrib
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 22: Manager Dave Roberts #30 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after first base umpire Ed Hickox #15 made the call on a no-swing for a walk to Darin Ruf of the San Francisco Giants to tie the game 3-3 in the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium on July 22, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 22: Manager Dave Roberts #30 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after first base umpire Ed Hickox #15 made the call on a no-swing for a walk to Darin Ruf of the San Francisco Giants to tie the game 3-3 in the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium on July 22, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /
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In a division race like this historic sprint between the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, every single day counts.

No, you’re not the crazy one for replaying minutiae from May while trying to mentally calculate just how possible it is for Los Angeles to complete the comeback and edge out their rivals.

Of course, any game directly between the two teams that’s already been completed this season will naturally have the biggest bearing on the final standings.

So, it almost goes without saying that, if not for a blown call — and we mean a blown call — to set the events of July 22, 2021 cascading off a cliff, the Dodgers would be in a much more advantageous spot.

Do you remember that midsummer day? It began with the Dodgers three games back of San Francisco in the loss column, with the chance to close the gap head-to-head.

It ended with Dave Roberts steamed and tossed like a Waffle House hash brown, and we have Darin Ruf’s broken wrists to partially blame.

The Dodgers’ heartbreaking loss to the Giants this summer on Darin Ruf’s check swing could haunt them.

Allow us to refresh your memory — or don’t. It’s a fairly unpleasant refreshment, like an oyster smoothie.

With the bases loaded, two outs, and a 3-2 Dodgers lead, Kenley Jansen delivered his 31st pitch of the evening in a full-count scenario to Darin Ruf. It all … came down … to this. Jansen delivered, Ruf flinched, and first base umpire Ed Hickox froze.

No swing. Tie game.

This was San Fran’s second straight ninth-inning comeback, and this one seemed so unlikely at the time. A Wilmer Flores single sandwiched between strikeouts … all Jansen needed was one final out. Alas, Donovan Solano doubled, Jason Vosler (???) walked, Thairo Estrada notched an infield single with the bases loaded, and Ruf broke the plane. LaMonte Wade Jr. (of COURSE) unbroke the tie one batter later with a single, and Sheldon Neuse went down as the final out of a scoreless bottom half.

And now, two months after we shrugged this one off, we’re right back at it again. Baseball.

Ruf was, of course, a Dodger at one point. If only his breakout could’ve come prior to heading overseas to Korea … you know, like Max Muncy’s. Ahh, Max Muncy. Now there’s a struggling slugger who had the right timing.

The Dodgers are going to have to wear this one until the finish line and hope they manage to clear the Giants and prevent a disruptive Game 163.

Is it safe to say Ed Hickox shouldn’t be anywhere near that one?

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