No teams since the turn of the century had ever met rocking dueling nine-game win streaks, so this clash of the titans seemed as evenly-matched as they come.
The deciding factor in a battle like that, though, is sometimes the umpire’s eye.
We understand why MLB replay is the way that it is. We know the directive. But man oh man, if a call is ~80% clear on replay, we’d like to think there’s a chance it could be overturned.
The Yankees were one strike away from escaping a jam with Joely Rodriguez on the mound, but Freddie Freeman’s legs made that fairly impossible. First, he legged out a double play to keep the inning rolling. Then, he sped all the way around the bases and slid in safely on Austin Riley’s two-strike rip…or did he?
Believe your eyes — or don’t — because it sure seemed like Freeman tied the game here. The home plate umpire saw otherwise, and there was nothing “definitive” enough on replay to overturn the call on the field. That’s the rule. That’s how it works. But the Yankees certainly got a break here.
Yankees should be exhaling after the Freddie Freeman replay call.
First of all, who knew Freeman could sprint like that? It wasn’t a full count. He simply tried to turn a single into a two-run, game-tying hit all by his lonesome. Very impressive.
Second, what a hellacious replay to keep this play close. Aaron Judge’s arm in center field is a weapon, but we’ll give credit to Andrew Velazquez for the quick turn and Gary Sanchez for the impressive slap tag that shielded the umpire from the facts of the case.
Was he safe? Probably. But every element was executed so well by the Yankees that the home plate ump — who’s kind of been in his own world on Tuesday — was unable to make the call, leading to a group replay being executed to the letter of the law. Thank you, New York replay center.
Meanwhile, Atlanta fans are out here wondering how this keeps happening to them. Remember Alec Bohm at home plate? Remember that Sunday Night Baseball disaster? The injustices just keep piling up.
For better or worse, MLB replay is designed to back up the call on the field rather than ask interesting questions.
This apparently wasn’t obvious enough to overturn — no matter what you and I saw.
Update: The Yankees took this one 5-4, thanks to Wandy Peralta getting Freeman with the bases loaded.
Aroldis Chapman is terrible. Though the umpire also extended the inning by pretending Ozzie Albies fouled off a Chapman slider, you think Atlanta could’ve used the extra Freeman run? My goodness.