I watched it and as an ump myself, the whole damn thing looked strange.
- Did the ball hit the dirt?
Depends on whose reply camera you saw. Nothing on Fox looked conclusive, after the game I switched over to ESPN and they had a different angle. It looked like it may have hit dirt first, and bounced less than an inch into his glove. Really hard to see though
The problem is as a plate ump, you have the worst angle in the park to view that play. Third base ump had the best view of any official, and the Angels should have asked for an appeal to him immediately. The plate ump couldn't see jack because the catccer is blocking him out.
- Did the plate ump give the proper mechanics to signal the situation?
Mechanics are something all umps are taught to focus on, almost more than knowing the rules. Simply put, if you look like you know what you're doing, they'll think you know what you're doing.
His mechanics on it were sloppy, he stuck his right arm straight out, which he does to signal thrid strike, but didn't hammer it like he usually does. Then he brings his arm back in front for a strike call. Made no sense.
Have to also lay some blame on the catcher though as well. If he had any idea that the catch was not clean, he should simply thrown down to first, tag the bag, we got the third out.
Going to be interesting to see how the ump crew handles it the rest of the series.