There was a bad call in the Cardinals-Cubs game last night and the current replay system made it possible.

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The Cardinals led the Cubs by a run in the seventh inning of last night’s nightcap. There were two men on and Addison Russell was at the plate. Russell chopped one down the first base line that first hit in foul territory then skipped past first base, also in foul territory.

Yet a run scored, a runner went to third base and Russell ended up safe at first. Cardinals pitcher Seth Maness was ejected on the play arguing, quite understandably, that a game-tying RBI should not happen on an obviously foul ball.

MLB doesn’t have the video embeddable, but you can watch the play here. The announcers entertain the notion that the ball crossed over the bag in fair territory, but for that to be possible the ball would have to travel in such a manner as to make the Warren Commission’s magic bullet look like the straightest thing ever.

More importantly, you can get Derrick Goold’s story about the play and why it was not reviewable by replay. The short version: fair/foul plays on the base lines that occur in front of the umpires are judgment calls. Despite the fact that fair/foul calls in the outfield are not. All of this part of the grand, messy bargain that is the current replay system.

A bargain, as Goold argues and as we at HBT have argued ever since the idea of replay was first broached, is severely flawed by virtue of the challenge system and the lack of a replay ump in the booth who can watch the game in real time and immediately fix calls. Add to it the idea that field umpires are entitled to deference, either on calls that are reviewed or the category of calls, like this one, which are not subject to it.

The system we have is a better one than no system. But it is not the best system that could be implemented, not because of unsolvable technological challenges, but because the system that was adopted was itself flawed. What makes it all the more galling is that neither John Schuerholz, Joe Torre, Bud Selig or anyone else involved in its implementation ever explained why we must have challenges or why we can’t have a booth ump.

It was just asserted — like so many other things baseball does — that it was just fine and all alternatives had been considered and none of you worry your pretty little heads about it.

Red Sox place Chris Sale on 10-day injured list

Chris Sale
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Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale has been placed on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation, the club revealed Saturday. The assignment is retroactive to August 14. In a corresponding roster move, right-handed reliever Ryan Brasier was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.

It’s an alarming development for the 30-year-old ace, who has been remarkably injury-free after dealing with a lingering case of shoulder inflammation last summer. While he hasn’t replicated the career-high results he delivered over the last two seasons, he still leads Red Sox pitchers with 3.6 fWAR and will head to the IL with a 6-11 record in 25 starts, a 4.40 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, and league-best 13.3 SO/9 through 147 1/3 innings. A timetable has not been given for his return, nor has the severity of his injury been disclosed. Per Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski, Sale has been experiencing pain in his elbow since Wednesday and will undergo further evaluation in the days to come.

Brasier, 31, was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket in mid-July after pitching to mixed results in the majors. He currently holds a 4.46 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.0 SO/9 with the Red Sox, though his results in Triple-A — one run, one walk, and 13 strikeouts over 9 1/3 innings — suggest that he might be capable of even sharper results when he rejoins the big league club.