Red Sox ALCS: Steve Pearce robbed by controversial catch

A chance for the Boston Red Sox to extend their lead in Game 3 of the ALCS was spoiled by a spectacular, yet controversial, catch by Tony Kemp.

Did he catch it? It’s a question typically reserved for watching NFL games, where nobody seems to know how to classify what a catch is. In Major League Baseball, the definition is more clear cut, although that wasn’t the case for the Boston Red Sox in Game 3 of the ALCS.

With two on and two out in the top of the third, Steve Pearce put a charge into a hanging slider from Houston Astros starter Dallas Keuchel. The ball seemed destined to collide with the left field wall which certainly would have driven in at least one run to extend Boston’s early lead.

Not so fast, said Tony Kemp. The Astros outfielder made an incredible leaping play to snatch the ball out of the air before slamming into the wall.

Or did he? The Red Sox challenged the play by making a case that the ball hit the wall before bouncing into Kemp’s glove.

Reply was inconclusive. No matter how many times you watch it in slow motion, half the people you ask will call it an out, the other half will say it’s a hit. The former half are mostly Astros fans while the latter are probably Red Sox fans.

You can understand why the Red Sox felt it was worthwhile to challenge the play. They could clearly hear the sound of a clang off the scoreboard from the dugout, which they assumed was an audible sign that the ball hit the wall. After reviewing the play, maybe that clang was actually the sound of Kemp’s glove hitting the wall.

The controversial call will undoubtedly be the topic of debate if the Red Sox go on to lose Game 3 – more so if they lose the series. Honestly, the umpires probably got it right. If nothing else, the replay wasn’t definitive enough to overturn the call on the field. It has to be obvious to reverse a call of this magnitude. This was hardly obvious.

Of course, that’s not what the Red Sox or their fans want to hear. The call potentially cost them at least one run with room to do more damage had the inning continued. Instead of having Keuchel on the ropes, perhaps even knocking him out of the game early, we remain locked in a low-scoring affair.

Regardless of whether or not Kemp made the catch, we should at least acknowledge the effort. When a player makes an unbelievable play like that there’s not much you can do except tip your cap to him.

Do you think Kemp made the catch or were the Red Sox robbed? Let us know in the comments!