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 Wednesday. Here’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.