ESPN gaffe could’ve cost the Dodgers big time on Sunday Night Baseball

St. Louis Cardinals v Los Angeles Dodgers
St. Louis Cardinals v Los Angeles Dodgers / Katharine Lotze/GettyImages

Everything turned out alright for the Dodgers in Sunday night's game, but it was rough going for a minute there. LA was down by four until the bottom of the sixth, when heroics from Teoscar Hernández, James Outman, and finally Max Muncy stole the win from the Cardinals to end the game 5-4 and take the series.

The Dodgers were in primetime, playing in the first matchup of the season to be broadcast on ESPN's storied Sunday Night Baseball broadcast. Naturally, that comes with a lot of fanfare and, accordingly, includes some rather obtrusive mid-game interviews.

On Sunday, the first came in the top of the third with Kiké Hernández on the mic from third base. ESPN's crew asked a few boilerplate questions — what's it like playing with Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani, and Freddie Freeman, and so on and so forth — but the most interesting thing we could hear wasn't coming from Hernández or play-by-play commentator Karl Ravech, who was conducting the interview.

Instead, Hernández's PitchCom device had the most interesting things to say. Fans watching the broadcast could hear the pitches Dodgers starter Gavin Stone and backup catcher Austin Barnes were calling clear as day over Hernández's hot mic. The Cardinals went on to get three hits off of Stone in the inning, including an RBI single for Paul Goldschmidt.

Kiké Hernández's hot mic on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball during Dodgers-Cardinals matchup could've been tipping pitches

Stone had been shoving until the third inning, too. As the Dodgers' backup man in Emmet Sheehan's absence, he needed to take the mound and justify the decision to make him a starter after some rough outings that saw him demoted to the bullpen last year. The first and second went off without a hitch; he struck out the side in the first and gave up a hit to Alec Burleson in the second, but otherwise didn't allow the Cardinals to do any damage.

But there it was on Hernández's mic — changeup, a fastball inside shaken off by Stone, changeup. Then, in the top of the fourth, Stone went back to shutting down Cardinals hitters with a groundout, strikeout swinging, and another groundout.

The PitchCom era is still in its early years, so it sort of makes sense that things like this could happen or not be planned for, but it's almost guaranteed to be an issue both ESPN and teams want to shut down immediately. Besides, who likes on-field, mid-game interviews anyway? Maybe we should just scrap the entire bit.