Yankees: Rays-Jays umpire Ron Kulpa gave NYY wild gift Monday night


Yankees fans may have been thrilled with the outcome of Rays-Blue Jays Monday night, as it kept the Bombers within a half-game of Toronto.

Just because we’re overjoyed, though, does not mean we’re unbiased. Home plate umpire Ron Kulpa absolutely took runs off the board for the Jays, and his self-insertion into the game was never more egregious than during the final at-bat.

Entrusted with a 6-2 lead entering the ninth, we believed in former Yankee (exhales deeply) David Robertson to get the job done. When does the Rays bullpen falter? Seriously. Never. It doesn’t. Money in the bank.

Well … D-Rob faced the top of the lineup, and surrendered a double to George Springer (on a … fly ball to first baseman Yandy Diaz?), then got beat on a fastball for a two-run Marcus Semien homer. Been there, David! One Vlad Jr. walk later (three-batter minimum rules!) and the Rays were very much in trouble.

With the tying runs coming up for the remainder of the inning, JT Chargois successfully stared down Bo Bichette and Teoscar Hernandez before giving up a hit to Danny Jansen and walking Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to load the bases. Next!

Cue former Yankees prospect Dietrich Enns vs former Yankees 26th man Breyvic Valera for all the marbles.

That impossible-sounding situation was made all the more confounding by the resulting ump show, when home plate umpire Ron Kulpa stood up and decided he’d like to have a say in the Wild Card race, too. With a 3-0 count on Valera, he gave Tampa not one but two non-strikes, contributing to a nearly two-run swing during the game that ended 6-4 Rays.

Umpire Ron Kulpa gave the Yankees a gift in Rays-Blue Jays.

Whether you believe in the Yanks’ chances or not, this is the most objectively stressful late-September stretch they’ve had in this current era. Typically, they’re either jockeying for position, trying to secure home-field advantage throughout the postseason, or well out of it (2016), promoting a young Chad Green and starting him against the Blue Jays.

Having your postseason chances hanging on tenterhooks leads to a lot of multi-screen baseball watching, and the electric ninth-inning combination of Aroldis Chapman against the Rangers and Enns against Toronto synced up almost perfectly on Monday.

Both results falling in your favor? It doesn’t get more perfect than that, especially after several weeks of things going less than perfectly.

Don’t get us wrong. Yankee fans will take the gift. Things haven’t exactly been easy for the Bombers in 2021, even in the realm of things they can’t control. Need we remind you about the Odor strike three call that threw a Yankees-Red Sox game entirely off its axis in June? Or this Justin Wilson nonsense that literally took a win off the board, Giants-Washington Football Team-style?

Nonsense goes both ways, and the hope is that it eventually balances out. On Monday night, Toronto was clearly robbed of a chance to complete their comeback.

For one night only, we thank the powers that be.