New replay system will be a work in progress, just ask the Indians
OAKLAND — Everyone knew that the new instant replay system was going to be a work in progress and that there were going to be a few rough patches along the way.
Wednesday’s review during the second inning of the first game of the day/night doubleheader between the Indians and Athletics was a perfect example that everyone is still finding their way through things.
With one out, Josh Donaldson hit a slow grounder to Carlos Santana, who cleanly fielded it and threw home as Yan Gomes tagged out Derek Norris. Oakland manager Bob Melvin challenged the tag play but came out after Corey Kluber had stepped on the pitching rubber and Jed Lowrie stepped into the batters box.
The review took 4 minutes, 45 seconds and was upheld because it was determined there was inconclusive evidence to overturn it. Monday’s review involving Michael Brantley being called out at home plate took just 59 seconds.
"We’re all still trying to get the feel for it," Francona said. "I’m not sure of the timing. I was under the impression once the pitcher is on the rubber and the hitter is in the box you can’t but those are things we are feeling our way through and so are the umpires."
When asked if he thought the replay took too long Francona said the only thing he was focused on was Kluber trying to get the next out and not the length of the review.
After the delay, Kluber gave up a single to Lowrie to give Oakland a 3-0 lead as they would eventually win 6-1. Kluber, who lasted only 3 1/3 innings and gave up five runs on eight hits, threw a couple warmup pitches before Lowrie stepped back into the box.
"By that point in the game it was apparent I was searching a little bit out there. That didn’t have anything to do with it," Kluber said. "That being said if replay takes that long there are going to be some issues. Hopefully they can figure out a way. That took away from the flow of the game and that’s what they are trying to avoid."
During the nightcap, replay worked in favor of the Indians. During the sixth inning, Mike Aviles was called out trying to steal second but the call was overturned when the outfield angles showed that Nick Punto missed tagging Aviles. The reversal took only a minute and 19 seconds.
While there have been plenty of hiccups with replay throughout baseball the first week of the season, Francona still thinks the intent of fixing calls remains in the right place.
Added Francona: "They are very realistic that there will be a hiccup or two. I appreciate them saying that and that they are trying to get it right. They are trying to get the egregious calls correct and how we get there is not the easiest path in our sport. You do the best you can."