This is supposed to be where I get all hot and bothered and start clamoring for expanded instant replay, right?
That squeeze bunt in the top of the 11th, the one that careened off the right knee of Alberto Gonzalez before winding up in fair ground, that should have been a foul ball; there’s really no sense in arguing the point.
Is it safe to assume that play cost the Detroit Tigers the game versus the Texas Rangers on Sunday? Not at all.
No questions about it, the winning run came home on that bunt, and despite the bases being loaded with no one out, the Tigers managed to get out of the frame without any further damage. Is it possible, if that ball had been correctly called foul, that Gonzalez would have grounded into the very same 5-2-3 double play that the next batter, Mitch Moreland, wound up hitting into? Sure, it’s possible. But the odds were heavily in favor of the Rangers mustering at least one run in that situation.
Thad Weber did a whale of a job to limit the damage and Prince Fielder gave everyone a brief glimmer of hope in the bottom of the inning, but the Tigers probably lost this game at least twice before Weber even entered the box score.
Austin Jackson lead off the bottom of the first with a double and immediately, the Tigers were looking to get even on the scoreboard. Brennan Boesch followed with a strikeout, which was the big rally killer. If he gets Jackson to third there, chances are good Cabrera drives him home. Instead, it was a wasted scoring chance.
The other instance came in the eighth when Alex Avila made an ill-advised throw after smothering a wild pitch. Elvis Andrus, with his great speed, would have beaten a perfect throw. Instead of holding on to that ball and having Andrus at second with one out, where it would take a hit to score him, Avila rushed the throw, which wound up in centerfield, and Andrus tied the game when he scored from third on Josh Hamilton‘s sacrifice fly.
Of course, in virtually any game in any season, there is a moment or two you can look back upon as a wasted opportunity, or where a different outcome on a particular play may have caused a different outcome in the final score.
But just because expanded replay may not have ultimately changed the outcome of Sunday’s game doesn’t mean Major League Baseball shouldn’t be dragging their feet on implementing it.
If we had expanded replay at the time, Brandon Inge would have been awarded first base when he was hit by a pitch in Game 163 in 2009 and the Tigers, not the Twins would have advanced to the playoffs.
If we had expanded replay at the time, a journeyman right hander with mediocre stuff and a similar record would have been awarded a well-earned perfect game instead of watching perhaps his only shot at being remembered pass him by with a blown call at first base.
If we had expanded replay at the time, maybe Weber wiggles off the hook in the 11th yesterday and maybe the Tigers find a way to win the game. Or maybe it wouldn’t have mattered either way.
And if we had expanded replay at the time, perhaps we could have reviewed whether or not Brendan Ryan did commit to a pitch in the dirt from Philip Humber. Just as the lack of replay took a perfecto away from Armando Galarraga in 2010, it may have awarded one to Humber on what should have been ball four.
John Parent is the NL Editorial Director for FanSided MLB and a lifelong Tigers fan. He can be reached at [email protected] or via twitter @JohnJParent.