Adrian Gonzalez plodded home Wednesday night, sweeping a hand on the plate as catcher Wilson Contreras swept a tag, eventually or peremptorily, somewhere on him. Gonzalez looked safe but was called out, igniting a controversy that united baseball fans against the one thing they apparently hate more than the Yankees: instant replay.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts fielded multiple questions on the play and national columnists penned multiple columns on it, and Adrian Gonzalez, channeling his inner presidential candidate, tweeted a picture of the play with the comment, “Somehow this is an out. Take series lead tomorrow. Got to do this. Us against the world.”
Yo Adrian: melodramatic much? If the Dodgers lose Thursday, what are the odds he says the series is rigged?
That the Dodgers scored two more runs after Gonzalez’s slide and the Cubs 10 didn’t deter someone in the press corps from asking Roberts about the “momentum” that was lost back in the second inning.
As if said momentum would have kept Addison Russell’s home run in the park or any of the Dodgers’ three errant throws on target or stuck to the Dodgers as the baseball didn’t to Chase Utley’s bare hand when flipped by Corey Seager after a brilliant stop.
If you’re asking about lost momentum in the second inning of a 10-2 game, at that point, we’re getting into what the late, great sportswriter Jim Murray called “blaming the Johnstown Flood on a leaky toilet in Altoona” territory.
You can look at MLB’s instant replay a lot like Churchill looked at democracy, which he said “was the worst form of government, except for all the others.” It’s better to have this system of replay than not, especially since the rate of reversal is reportedly slightly better than 50%.
It’s fine to gripe about and aim to improve the replay system, but maybe it wouldn’t be as necessary if we could improve the umpires. Why complain about the illness when you can gripe about the medicine?
Facetiously, I’ve always thought it might be more cost effective to have the replay officials watch the TV broadcast instead of all the replays and rule based on what the national broadcasters are saying, since they’re swaying opinion. If Joe Buck and John Smoltz thought Gonzalez was safe, how could he not be?
It hardly mattered Wednesday in an NLCS that has come down to this: the Cubs have scored 18 runs against pitchers not named Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill or Kenley Jansen, none against those that are.
Tied 2-2, the Cubs can’t win the series without winning a game started by either Kershaw or Hill and if they don’t win Thursday against Kenta Maeda, they’ll have to beat both.
You don’t need a sabermetrician to tell you what the odds are on that.