Manager Dusty Baker is new to MLB's system of replay challenges as the first-year skipper of the Washington Nationals. There have been times this season where the rules have helped Baker and his team. Tuesday night was not one of those times.
Buck Showalter of the Orioles matched an MLB season-high with three successful manager challenges in the Nats' 8-1 loss at Camden Yards. Two of them pulled Trea Turner off the basepaths. One of them ruled Adam Jones safe to extend an inning.
The two Turner ones hurt the most, as they contributed to a long night for the Nationals offense, one in which they landed 10 hits but scored just one run. Turner was ruled out on two steal attempts at second base. One was in the first inning after he led off the game with a single. The other was in the third inning, again after he got on with a single.
Both plays featured throws by Orioles catcher Matt Wieters that were to the right of the bag, but second baseman Jonathan Schoop was able to pull the ball in and make the tag with Turner sliding past him.
"You can’t do anything if the throws are towards first base," Baker said. "They weren’t very good throws. It just happens they were very good tags. You got a 6-foot-4, long-armed second baseman, and most people don’t even get down in that position to make that tag."
Turner agreed on the throws and wished, in a sense, they were more on target.
"I just wish he would have made good throws right over the bag, I think I have a better chance that way," he said. "Throw gets taken up the line, you know he can put the tag on you a little bit faster and that's what happened tonight."
Getting Turner, one of the fastest players in baseball, into scoring position generally leads to good things. The Nats instead had him sent back to the dugout after lengthy delays while the umpires conferred with New York.
Both Baker and Turner stewed over the replay system itself as they waited. And afterwards each made their opinions clear.
"Don't care for it too much. I don't think I or we or anybody on this side has really benefit from it, so for that reason I don't really care for it," Turner said.
Baker was much more direct and descriptive.
"Number one, I just think it takes too long… they've gotta do something to correct the length of time. Maybe after 30 seconds if they're inconclusive, then come up with whatever the umpire said," Baker said.
"It sort of makes a point of why do we need umpires, if you're going to dispute everything that they say? I don't know. I'm kind of new this year to replay, but it's tough to lose three of them… To me, it doesn't make the umpires look very good. I just hope they correct this."
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