The A’s had two close calls decided by replay reviews Wednesday afternoon, and lost them both. They produced a three-run swing, taking one away and giving the Colorado Rockies two in a 5-1 A's loss at Oakland Coliseum.
It was one of several irritants following a second straight loss where defensive lapses and quiet bats cost the A’s dearly, but losing both decisions bothered manager Bob Melvin nonetheless.
“Over the years, we feel like we’ve had a tough time with close calls on replay,” Melvin said. “You know what? It didn’t decide the game, but it can be frustrating.”
The first replay review must have driven Melvin nuts. Matt Olson was called out at the plate after Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado inexplicably threw home with two outs over making an easy force out at first, with catcher Tony Wolters tag coming high on Olson’s thigh.
That wasn’t crystal clear watching it live, but Olson obviously was safe when viewing the close play slowed down and from multiple angles.
You be the ump. Out or safe?— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) July 29, 2020
Out call was held up after review. pic.twitter.com/ENvwTRSABx
Melvin challenged the play upon advice from staffers watching replays, but league officials surprisingly upheld the umpire’s original call.
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Olson was called out (again), ending what could’ve been a two-out rally. The run would’ve tied it 2-2 with a runner on third and Vimael Machin at bat, but an A’s half inning ended harmlessly instead.
Melvin was asked in his postgame press conference about what prompted him to challenge the call and what he thought of the decision. He answered the question with another one.
“We didn’t get a really good replay at it on the scoreboard,” Melvin said. “What did it look like to you?”
The reporter paused for a beat and then said what everyone else was thinking: "He looked safe.”
“Yeah,” Melvin said. “That’s what we thought.”
The next call was less certain, following an easy play made difficult in the ninth inning. Relief pitcher Jesus Luzardo lobbed a volley to first base too high and arching to produce an out, an act ruled an error that allowed two runs to score and put the game essentially out of reach.
You be the ump again. Out or safe?— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) July 29, 2020
Safe call stands after review. pic.twitter.com/fiwpF59v2G
While the play was close, there wasn’t indisputable evidence from this vantage to overturn the safe call on the field.
“I don’t have an excuse for it,” Luzardo said. “I didn’t have a good grip on the ball, and I didn’t want to throw it away. I thought I had more time than I actually did.
"That was my fault.”