For the first time since manager-initiated instant replay was introduced before the season, the Nationals had two plays challenged by the opposing team in the same game, and neither of Phillies Manager Ryne Sandberg’s challenges went Washington’s way in Tuesday’s 4-3 loss at Citizens Bank Park.
“We can see it one way,” Nats Manager Matt Williams told reporters after the game. “Doesn’t mean they’re going to see it the same.”
The Nationals’ 17 challenges against are the second-fewest in the league to the Mets’ 15. Of the 17 challenges made by the opposing manager, nine have been overturned, including two on Tuesday. After initially ruling that Darin Ruf’s foot came off the bag on Anthony Rendon’s ground ball to third in the first inning, umpires overturned the call upon review.
The Phillies’ TV broadcasters thought Ruf kept his foot on the bag, while Bob Carpenter and F.P. Santangelo thought otherwise. While the call didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, it loomed large in the eighth inning when Philadelphia’s Ben Revere led off with a grounder to Ian Desmond.
Kevin Frandsen stretched — and maybe jumped — to reach Desmond’s high throw. First base umpire Gary Cedarstrom ruled Revere out, but Sandberg, who still possessed a challenge by virtue of winning his challenge back in the first inning, challenged again.
“I was baffled by the first review, which turns out to be big at this point,” Santangelo said.
“By the replay we have seen, I think his toe is off the bag when he receives the throw,” Phillies broadcaster Matt Stairs said during the replay review.
“Conclusive, inconclusive, much like the National Football League and college football, that’s become a big word in this whole replay situation around Major League Baseball,” Stairs’ broadcast partner, Tom McCarthy, said. “Is it conclusive, is it inconclusive, is there enough to overturn it?”
Evidently, it was conclusive enough. Revere was ruled safe and would score the go-ahead run later in the inning.
“Sometimes you just have a feeling you know who the crew is in New York and I’ll just leave it at that,” Santangelo said.
For the record, of the 25 plays that Matt Williams has challenged this season, 15 have been overturned. Forty-seven percent of all calls challenged this season have been overturned. The Dodgers’ 39 challenges against are the most in the league. Of those challenges, 20 resulted in the call being overturned.