Of Umpires and Replay

LA dumped the Padres 6-1 last night.  The score wasn’t as lopsided as it looks.

Sure, Zack Grienke was real good, allowing only 3 hits and 1 run through eight. Their offense?  Dodger offense consisted of two solo HR, Pedro Ciriaco’s error, and two questionable calls by the first base umpire.

Those two calls were frustrating to say the least.  AJ Ellis appeared to swing at a 2-2 pitch which was called a ball and upheld on appeal.  That might not have been so bad had, on an almost identical pitch an inning later, Juan Uribe not taken a similar swing and been awarded strike 2.  Then there’s the safe call on Skip Schumaker’s slow roller/dive into the first base bag that got LA on the board.  Replays clearly showed the throw beating Skip’s hand to the bag.

This post is not intended to be a call for instant replay, even though it is baffling why MLB doesn’t have it.  Is putting a camera aimed at first base to record plays at the bag so daunting a task?  Is using the cameras watching the hitter’s every reaction to a pitched ball to verify check swings that controversial?  We the audience see the replay almost instantly and know if the call was right or wrong.  Having an MLB official review calls at first and render judgement seems like a slam dunk.  Reviewing either of today’s controversial calls – the play at first or the check swing – wouldn’t take any more time than goal reviews do in the NHL.

Those 2 calls changed the game.  If Ellis strikes out, there are two away in the fifth, and with two out, Grienke isn’t bunting.  Volquez probably retires him, seeing as Edinson had already struck out Zack looking in the third inning.  That saves him at least 5 pitches and 2 hitters.  Pitching is cumulative.  He might not have hung a fastball to Adrian Gonzalez in the sixth if he hadn’t had to labor through the fifth.  From there who knows how the game turns out.

Probably the Dodgers still win.  Grienke pitched with a chip on his shoulder.  With instant replay, however, the teams would at least be assured human error wouldn’t play a larger than desired role in the outcome.  We could move on to complaining about Volquez issuing 7 walks, or the aforementioned error, or Will Venable’s Golden Sombrero, instead of fixating on Marty Foster.

I write mostly on Tuesdays.  Other days when the muse strikes.  E tan e epi tas.  You can find me much easier now on Twitter.

You are encouraged to comment using an exisitng Twitter, Facebook, or Google account. Upvote comments you find helpful, and only downvote comments that do not belong. The downvote is not a 'disagree' button.

  • Probably no getting around Greinke yesterday but that doesn’t mean the system can’t be improved.

  • Geoff Hancock

    Though if the game remained close, and considering how much Greinke had to labor on the first, perhaps he exits the game sooner. But it boggles the mind why MLB actively refuses to utilize technology that exists.