A strange replay in Oakland reveals a big hole in the replay rule

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The Oakland A’s were put in a lose-lose situation by an umpire’s call and an instant replay decision in yesterday’s game against the Blue Jays. It was a play and a call which should, if anyone is paying attention, lead to an immediate tweak to the instant replay rule.

Here’s what happened: with one out in the second inning, the Blue Jays loaded the bases against Sonny Gray and the A’s. Anthony Gose hit a grounder to A’s first baseman Nate Freiman. Freiman appeared to tag Munenori Kawasaki as he ran for second base, but umpire Vic Carapazza ruled that Freiman missed the tag and Kawasaki was safe. The play is still in motion with runners heading toward every bag. Freiman fires the ball home to catcher Steven Vogt. Vogt receives the ball and steps on home plate to get the force out of Edwin Encarnacion, who was running from third. Play ends. You can watch it all here.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons comes out to challenge the call on the Freiman tag of Kawasaki. That is, he comes out in an effort to have his own base runner, who was called safe, called out. He does so because if Kawasaki was tagged, there was no force play in effect at home and Encarnacion needed to have been tagged, rather than forced out. After a four minute+ review, it is ruled that, yes, Kawasaki was tagged and that Encarnacion, since he was not tagged, was safe at home. A run was awarded to the Jays.

Which is totally freaking insane.

Vogt had absolutely no reason to tag Encarnancion. He was, quite reasonably, relying on the call that was just made in real time during an active play — that Kawasaki was safe and thus a force play was in effect — in doing what he did. By awarding the run the way it was rewarded, the umpires and replay officials were doing more than correcting a call. They were creating fictions. Bob Melvin played the rest of the game under protest. Luckily for the A’s and the league it ended up not mattering, as the A’s won the game regardless.

You can’t anticipate every eventuality when a new rule is put in place, but you can certainly move quickly to patch a hole. Major League Baseball needs to patch this hole immediately and acknowledge that the players can only act based on what they know at the time, so what is known at the time has to control. There needs to be an immediate tweak to the rule which goes something like this: if an umpire’s call on the field affects the subsequent decision-making of players on the same play, the call is not reviewable.

And That Happened: Tuesday’s Scores and Highlights

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OK, so today it’s just the scores. I’m catching an early flight home from St. Louis — the land of unhappy Cardinals fans, based on my interaction with them late last night — and don’t have time for a full recap. But if you use your imagination I’m sure you can fill in the blanks.

Short version, though: a great night for Christian Yelich and the Brewers, who pulled to within a half game of the Cubs after dominating St. Louis. A bad night for the Cardinals, whose loss to those Brewers — combined with the Rockies’ win over the Phillies — puts them a half game outside of the playoff picture and moves Colorado into the second Wild Card slot. Also a bad night for the Dodgers whose walkoff loss to Arizona puts them only a half game ahead of Colorado in the NL West.

We only have five days left in this season, but there’s still stuff to sort out.

The scores:

Royals 4, Reds 3
Yankees 9, Rays 2
Nationals 9, Marlins 4
Astros 4, Blue Jays 1
Braves 7, Mets 3
White Sox 5, Indians 4
Brewers 12, Cardinals 4
Pirates 6, Cubs 0
Tigers 4, Twins 2
Rockies 10, Phillies 3
Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 3
Angels 4, Rangers 1
Mariners 10, Athletics 8
Giants 5, Padres 4
Orioles vs. Red Sox — POSTPONED