John Farrell to get fined for being critical of instant replay

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When Major League Baseball finally approved instant replay, a strong message was sent along with it, both through official channels and unofficial channels in the form of background comments to many reporters writing replay stories.

That message? It’s a work in progress. Baseball is being deliberate because it wants to get things right. If things don’t go smoothly, we’ll adjust. We’ll listen to managers and players and umpires and do our best to tweak the system.

That’s a smart message! It’s also one that is being undermined by fining people who are critical of replay. As baseball is apparently going to do to John Farrell. From the Daily News:

Joe Torre, MLB’s executive VP of baseball operations, told the Daily News on Monday that Farrell would be fined for his critical remarks about baseball’s new replay system following Boston’s 3-2 loss Sunday night.

The comments, which included Farrell saying “it’s hard to have any faith in the (replay) system,” came after instant replay decisions went against the Sox in losses on Saturday and Sunday.

Farrell didn’t say it was corrupt. He didn’t say it was a failure. He voiced his frustration with a system that has not been perfect out of the gate.  While I’m sure Major League Baseball would prefer such criticisms to be a bit more constructive and a lot more private, fining someone for stating the bleedin’ obvious like Farrell did is not exactly on all fours with the message about wanting feedback about their sure-to-be-tweaked work-in-progress.

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.