MLB Needs Instant Replay After Umps Blow Call Against Boston Red Sox

Tom Szczerbowski-USA Today Sports

When will MLB get with the times?

I find myself asking that question whenever I witness an embarrassing and avoidable game deciding call like I did last night in the Boston Red Sox‘ 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Red Sox were robbed of a chance to win a crucial baseball game at Fenway. The Rays came into the highly anticipated make-up game just a half game behind the first-place Red Sox in the AL East. Boston had the misfortune of having to face David Price, one of the hottest pitchers in baseball, twice in the same series.

At least until the rain came, anyway. After a 39-minute delay, it was clear that Price was not the same pitcher. After he was pulled from the game. that’s when things got interesting.

Ryan Lavarnway welcomed Joel Peralta with a double off of the left field wall. Manager John Farrell made a terrible decision at this point, choosing to pinch-run Daniel Nava rather than Jose Iglesias, who was having his “day off.” When Steven Drew‘s double off the right field wall failed to score Nava from second base, the Red Sox still had a chance to tie the score or take the lead with only one out.

Brandon Snyder came up and hit a line drive to left field. It was clearly deep enough to score Nava from third.

Unfortunately, this is where umpire Jerry Meals blew the game. On a play that Meals later admitted was a blown call, Nava slid into home plate in front of the leg of catcher Jose Molina. When he was mistakenly called out, Farrell and Nava lost their heads and Farrell was ejected. Neither team scored again and the game finished 2-1.

There is a very simple and effective solution for debacles like this: instant replay. Football added it years ago and even the most conservative, old-school fans now must admit that it has improved the quality of the product. Bad calls that completely affect the outcomes of games should be reversible.

Imagine if MLB had instant replay too? They would actually get calls right and the deserving teams would win. We wouldn’t want that now though, would we?

This loss is largely on Farrell and Nava, not just the umpires. But considering how vital it is to win the division since the wild card team has to win a play-in game now, this is a game that could come back to haunt the Red Sox, and was entirely avoidable.

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