It’s easy for Joe Girardi to say because the ruling favored his team. But after the call on a close play at home plate — and the controversial video review that upheld it — Sunday night in Atlanta, the Phillies manager doesn’t think there’s much wrong with Major League Baseball’s replay system.
“I think it’s doing its job for the most part,” Girardi said Monday before the Phillies and Mets were rained out in New York, setting up a doubleheader Tuesday. “I really do.”
The Braves begged to differ after claiming they got jobbed in the ninth inning of the Phillies’ rousing 7-6 victory. Alec Bohm slid home with the eventual winning run, but after being called safe by umpire Lance Barrett, replays from several angles showed he may not have touched the plate before being tagged by Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud.
A lengthy review resulted in the call standing because, according to MLB, the replay official “could not definitively determine that the runner failed to touch home plate prior to the fielder applying the tag.” The Braves disputed that interpretation and questioned the purpose of the replay system if such calls aren’t overturned.
“We have five different angles on a national televised game, and it’s clear that his foot didn’t touch the plate, that it was on the chalk,” Braves starter Drew Smyly said after the game. “For MLB not to overturn it, that’s embarrassing. Why even have replay if you won’t overturn that?”
It wasn’t only Braves players either. Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner tweeted that the ruling was “absolutely brutal,” adding, “[W]hat’s the point of replay?”
But Girardi said he has come to expect and accept that replay officials must be “100 percent sure” to overturn an umpire’s call. He noted a play on opening day when Bryce Harper was called out at third base. The Phillies challenged, and the replay appeared to show Harper slide in before the tag. But the call was upheld, though not confirmed, upon a review that proved inconclusive in the eyes of the replay officials.
“Now some people might think [Sunday night] was a much bigger call,” Girardi said. “Yeah, but the Bryce Harper call could’ve affected us, too. It’s kind of what happens. Sometimes you’re on the right end of those and sometimes you’re on the wrong end. It was one of those calls, I believe, that no matter what call was made, it was going to stand.”
Bohm may have summed it up best. Asked Sunday night if he thought he touched the plate, he said, “I was called safe. That’s all that matters.”
Taking a shot
Upon being placed on the 10-day injured list Sunday with a strained oblique muscle in his left side, reliever Archie Bradley mentioned he received a COVID-19 shot last week. Girardi said some other Phillies players have been vaccinated, too. More may choose to do so when the team returns Friday from a seven-game road trip.
Bradley said he dealt with one “bad night of shivers and cold aches,” though he was able to pitch Saturday night in Atlanta. But with the Phillies scheduled to be off only once (April 22) in the next 27 days, they won’t have much recovery time if they experience side effects.
“It’s really up to the players how they want to do it, if they want to do it,” Girardi said. “I have my second [shot] coming up, and I will not do it on an off-day. I will do it on a day that we’re at home because I don’t want to be sick traveling. And I had no symptoms from the first. For the players, I’m not exactly sure how they’re going to do it.”
It’s also unclear, according to player representative Rhys Hoskins, whether the Phillies will reach the 85% vaccination threshold necessary to loosen their COVID-19 protocols, including wearing masks in the dugout and bullpen and eating at indoor restaurants on road trips.
The Phillies were awaiting test results to determine the severity of Bradley’s injury. He said Sunday he isn’t sure how it occurred or how long he may be sidelined. ... Chase Anderson will start the first game of the doubleheader at 4:10 p.m. followed by Aaron Nola in the nightcap. The Mets will counter with right-handers Taijuan Walker and Marcus Stroman. Both games will be seven innings.