2021 NLDS: Darin Ruf Appreciates Irony Of Check-Swing Calls Defining Dodgers-Giants Games
Wilmer Flores, Will Smith, 2021 NLDS
D. Ross Cameron/USA TODAY Sports

Back on July 22, the Los Angeles Dodgers lost a home game to the San Francisco Giants in part due to an apparent missed call on Darin Ruf’s check swing. The Giants went on to finish one game ahead of the Dodgers in the National League West.

That guaranteed them home-field advantage in a potential postseason matchup, which concluded with a thrilling Game 5 of the NL Division Series. In a twist of fate, the Dodgers were put into the NL Championship Series on an incorrect check-swing call against Wilmer Flores.

“The plate umpire appealed the check swing to me, I thought he went, so I called it a swing,” Gabe Morales said after the Dodgers’ 2-1 win.

“Check-swings are one of the hardest calls we have. I don’t have the benefit of multiple camera angles when I’m watching it live. When it happened live I thought he went, so that’s why I called it a swing.”

While disagreeing with the call, the Giants collectively handled the situation with dignity. “At the time I didn’t know,” Ruf said of Morales’ call on the field.

“But obviously we’ve been able to see the replay and it didn’t look like he went, but a check swing earlier in the year helped us out too. So it’s kind of funny how it comes down to those two events. But, yeah, just, yeah.”

Giants manager Gabe Kapler acknowledged he miss call ending his team’s season was “super tough,” but he didn’t pin the loss on that one sequence.

Roberts focuses on win over Giants

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts voiced his frustration with the missed call on Ruf’s check-swing during the season, but on Thursday night chose to keep the focus on the overall team.

“I’m trying to sell it as much as I possibly can,” he said of the appeal going to first base. “So it’s baseball. It’s baseball, and ultimately we won a ballgame.”

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