Bochy replay

And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

47 Comments

Diamondbacks 5, Giants 4: Welp, Day 2 of instant replay and everything that many of us said could go wrong with a challenge-based system went wrong:

(a) A critical call was blown;
(b) the call could not be reviewed because the manager was out of challenges;
(c) the wholly arbitrary rule that umpires can’t initiate reviews before the seventh inning was in effect;
(d) the blown-but-unreviewable call constituted the game’s margin of victory; and
(e) all of that led to extended delays.

As for the facts: the entire description of what went wrong and why can be read here.

As for the opinion: Why a totally defensible, but ultimately unsuccessful challenge on one play deprives a manager of a challenge on a wholly unrelated play is utterly beyond me. Why umpires — or anyone — can’t initiate review of plays that are clearly botched before the seventh inning is likewise beyond me. Why Bruce Bochy and the Giants have to bear the burden of fixing the umpire’s mistakes — and do so in a manner that requires game show-like calculation and management of scarce, gimmicky resources — is so far beyond me that I’d get jet lag if I had to go visit it. Baseball sold the challenge system on its “uniqueness and charm.” This was certainly unique, but not at all charming.

I’m sure, to the extent there are any official responses to the events of this game, they will reference the fact that, as recently as last season, the same outcome would have occurred here but, unlike last year at least there was a chance for the run-scoring call here to be reviewed (that chance being had Bruce Bochy not burned his challenge). Don’t accept that answer. Baseball had carte blanche and the support of everyone to institute a system that got calls right. They chose, however, to go with a system that, by definition, does not have getting calls right as its sole objective. A system which managers do not care for and which its former head of umpiring said “would lead to unbelievable confusion and would miss the point of instituting replay.”

Well, mission accomplished.

Rangers 3, Phillies 2: Adrian Beltre singled home Shin-Soo Choo in walkoff fashion. Before that there was replay stuff here too, but it was the other side of the coin from the Giants-Dbacks game. Ron Washington came out on to the field following a play at third on a sac bunt but ultimately didn’t challenge the call that the Phillies runner was safe. A few minutes later Washington successfully challenged a pickoff play which eliminated a runner at second who would have scored on a subsequent hit. Of course, anyone who lauds this as an example of the system working and cites it as a counter-example to what happened in the Giants-Dbacks game needs to explain to me how justice would’ve been served had Washington used his challenge on the sac bunt. And they should also note that even though only one replay was used here, the game was delayed both times anyway because we’re letting managers walk out on to the field to chat while everyone ponders whether a challenge should be issued.

Dodgers 3, Padres 2: Yasiel Puig disrespectfully hit a baseball off of the Western Metal Supply Building in left field for a two-run homer. Just pathetic, really. That building was declared a historic landmark in 1978, and this arrogant, hot-blooded young punk decides that attempting to damage it with projectiles is a good thing to do. Someone needs to sit him down and teach him how things work in Major League Baseball.

Astros 6, Yankees 2: There was a certain segment of Yankees fans who spent the past few days on Twitter lamenting that baseball’s marquee franchise — with its retiring demi-God shortstop — deserved better than to start the season on what was, in effect, baseball’s fourth “Opening Day,” on the road, in a night game and against baseball’s worst franchise. Keep opening like this and you’re gonna get this kind of quaternary billing on the regs.

Braves 5, Brewers 2: Freddie Freeman hit two homers and Jason Heyward hit a two-run shot of his own. Alex Wood continued his excellent spring training pitching into the regular season, allowing one run on five hits in seven innings. The Brewers had taken eight of the previous ten games against the Braves, six of which were won by shutout. Atlanta scoring five off of them is like some kind of miracle.

Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $40,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Wednesday’s evening MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on WednesdayHere’s the FanDuel link.

Marlins 4, Rockies 3: Nate Eovaldi allowed two runs and struck out six. The Marlins even scored a couple runs for him after he left a tie game to hand him the win. And while four runs may not seem like a great luxury, they are for Eovaldi. He’s had the worst run support in baseball over the past couple of years.

Blue Jays 4, Rays 2:  Drew Hutchison pitched his first game since June of 2012 and got the win. Adam Lind’s three-run homer would be all the runs he’d need. Fun times: with Jose Reyes out, Melky Cabrera was the Jays’ leadoff hitter. He went 2 for 5 and scored a run.

Mariners 8, Angels 3: Brad Miller hit two homers and Justin Smoak hit a bases-clearing double after Mike Scioscia decided to intentionally walk Robinson Cano to get to him. If Smoak can keep taking advantage of other teams’ understandable reluctance to pitch to Cano with men on base, the Mariners may actually have something here.

Indians vs. Athletics: POSTPONED: Though he is unaware of it, Indians catcher Yan Gomes is a Quasi Supernormal Incremental Precipitation Inducer. In laymen’s terms: a Rain God. The clouds want to be near him, to love him, to cherish him and to water him. This could be a bad thing to be as a baseball player, but it may give him a lucrative second career in taking money from resorts and similar places in exchange for not going there.

Report: Extension talks between Mets, Neil Walker are “probably dead”

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: Neil Walker #20 of the New York Mets sits in the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
Leave a comment

On Sunday, it was reported that second baseman Neil Walker and the Mets were discussing a potential three-year contract extension worth “north of $40 million.” Those discussions took a turn for the worse. The Mets feel extension talks are “probably dead,” according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.

Walker underwent a lumbar microdisectomy in September, ending his 2016 season during which he hit .282/.347/.476 with 23 home runs and 55 RBI over 458 plate appearances.

The Mets may not necessarily need to keep Walker around as it has some potential options up the middle waiting in the minor leagues. Though Amed Rosario is expected to stick at shortstop, Gavin Cecchini — the club’s No. 3 prospect according to MLB Pipeline — could shift over to second base.

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before a start to deal with the yips

9 Apr 2000: Rick Ankiel #66 of the St. Louis Cardinals winds back to pitch the ball during the game against the Milwaukee Brweers at the Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 11-2. Mandatory Credit: Elsa Hasch  /Allsport
Getty Images
21 Comments

The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.

It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:

On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:

“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”

Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.