Tim McClelland all but admits to the need for instant replay at the press conference after last night’s game:
As far as the two calls that I had at third base. The first one with Swisher leaving too soon. In my heart I thought he left too soon. On the play with Cano and Posada, I thought Cano was on the base. I was waiting for two players to be on the base, and when there was never the situation where both of them were on the base at the same time. When he tagged Cano, I thought Cano was on the base, and when Jorge touched the base and continued and tagged Posada out, I thought Posada was out.
After looking at replays, I’m not sure I believe the replay of the first one. I said in my heart I thought he left too soon. But the replay showed that he didn’t. We go in and watch replays regularly after every game, even during the regular season. That’s part of our procedures.
Then the second one it showed that Cano was off the bag when he was tagged. I did not see that for whatever reason. So obviously there were two missed calls. Obviously, or not obviously, but there were two missed calls.
And I’m just out there trying to do my job and do it the best I can. And unfortunately there was by instant replay, there were two missed calls.
Good for McClelland for admitting his mistakes. And for, however unwittingly, making the best case for the expansion of instant replay yet. Umpires can’t be making calls based on what’s “in their heart.” In each of these cases, the replay got it right, and even an umpire admits it.
Based on what we’ve seen this offseason, baseball can not deny the need to do something with respect to replay this winter.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.
Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).
Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.
Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.
Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.