I have heard and read criticism of the replay review where Jose Lobaton of the Nationals was called out on review in the eighth inning on Thursday night. Lobaton beat the tag at first as Chicago Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras tried to pick him off. On replay it was noted his foot came off the bag while the tag was held. He was correctly called out.
One criticism is this was not the spirit of the rule. I am not sure what that means. In baseball if your foot comes off the base during a tag, you are out. Before replay, there was no way he would have been called out. But that is true of many plays we see now.
From a Nats perspective, it stinks that his foot was barely off the bag. Was it even an inch off the bag? Maybe not. But it was off the bag.
What if his foot had come four inches off the bag instead? Everyone would clearly see him out and I guess they would never have needed to go to replay. But his foot still came off the bag. Until they change the rule, that is an out. Again, it stinks for the Nats, but they didn’t get a bad call there. We digress here, but of course, Lobaton should not have put himself in danger of getting picked off. His secondary lead went too far. He gave Contreras a chance and that led to what happened.
There is no rule saying if your foot is an inch or less off the bag, you are still safe. More than that, then we can call you out. Teams like the Orioles have taken advantage of such replays. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop seems to be particularly adept at holding the tag and getting a few outs that way during the year. Maybe even a gentle nudge of the runner as well to help the cause perhaps.
The Nats may have had more of an argument on the play involving catcher Matt Wieters, when he was hit in the helmet by a backswing while missing a pitch that went under his glove. It was a bizarre play and I still can’t figure if they interpreted that rule correctly or not. But here again, Wieters should have blocked that ball and kept all of that from happening. Then he made a bad throw to make it worse.
The Nats were their own worst enemy on Thursday night, not the umpires or replay officials. They simply made way too many mistakes in such a big game. It was a terribly frustrating end for a franchise that has been so good in recent seasons.
The venting directed at the replay review system is out of line and should be directed at the players who didn’t come up big when needed. Baseball’s replay review system is far from perfect and could use some tweaking, I’m sure.
But under this system, if a player’s foot comes off the bag while the tag is held, he is out. No matter how small the distance.
Meanwhile, my fine readers, here is your test for today. Even though this blog didn’t deal with an Orioles topic you are cordially invited to bring up one or two of your own here today. So what have you got?