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Great (free) BP article on replays (using Friday night's Eddings debacle as an example)


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http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=26259

 

"Why does it have to be this way? The easy, lazy answer is that the umpires union would never allow straightforward, blank-slate appeals, because it would cut the legs out from under the umpire on the field. That explanation is not only insufficient, but untrue. There is always some concession in return for which a union would agree to a given measure. Union leaders tend to be hard-boiled and hard-headed, and that’s truer of the umpires union than of almost any other, but ultimately, a union is an advocacy group. It has certain objectives, and an offer that promises enough advancement on those objectives can overcome almost any seeming poison pill. Be it friendlier rotations, better pay or a greater degree of tenure, there’s some horse for which Cowboy Joe West would trade the umps’ unearned benefit of the doubt. Blaming unions is one of the more popular ways of dodging real problems with a number of institutions, these days. They’re hardly ever the real culprits."

 

 

"Since I dropped my philosophy minor at the end of my freshman year, though, let’s talk about the baseball cost of Friday night’s debacle. The Angels would have had runners on first and second and nobody out, had that call gone the right way. The run expectancy for that situation this season is 1.45. Instead, they had to live and work around a one-out, runner-on-first situation, the run expectancy of which is 0.51. (For the sample-size police, those numbers were 1.40 and 0.48 last season.) Eddings made a mistake worth nearly a full run, and the replay system concretized that injustice. The Angels would tie the game in the frame, but were unable to take the lead, and after another volley of single runs between the teams, the Giants walked off as winners, 3-2. A one-run umpire error went uncorrected in what turned out to be a one-run game, despite the play going under the microscope of replay. The Angels had been 36-percent likely to win that game before Freese hit the ball. Had the play been called correctly, they would have been roughly 44-percent likely to win. When the dust settled, they had just a 29 percent chance to win.

 

Now, it wouldn’t be fair to act as though the call decided that game. Mike Scioscia inexplicably allowed C.J. Wilson to bat with two runners on and two outs in that seventh inning. Wilson had thrown only 63 pitches to that point, but the heart of the Giants’ order was due for a third time in the bottom of the seventh, and frankly, the leverage of that plate appearance (for the initiated, as Russell Carleton would say, the Leverage Index was 3.26) demanded a competent hitter. Scioscia managed as one unaccustomed to life without the DH. He seemed unprepared for that situation, for which there is no excuse. There’s also the matter of a really great encounter between Sergio Romo and Mike Trout in the top of the eighth. After an error and a single put two on with nobody out, Romo fanned Trout on five pitches, in a delightful battle wherein Trout fell behind 0-2, took a tough pitch, fouled off a tough pitch, then whiffed on a classic Romo slider. When Trout stepped to the plate, the Angels trailed but had a 55 percent chance of winning. After he swung through the slider, loudly swore, and stomped back to the dugout, the number was 40 percent."

 

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