3 Playoff Moments the Angels Needed Instant Replay


The news came out earlier this week that major league baseball was going to expand instant replay in 2014. The expansion will include a challenge system that is similar to the NFL’s challenge system.

Coaches will get one challenge from innings one through six and two from innnings seven on. Replay If the manager wins his appeal, he retains the challenge. The challenge from the first six innings does not carry over and not all plays are reviewable (like balls and strikes). For more details check out MLB.com.

Like many teams, the Los Angeles Angels have been the victims of some bad umpire calls…particularly in the playoffs. Here are three recent playoff instances where the Angels might have benefited from instant replay.

Game Two of the 2005 ALCS: A.J. Pierzynski Reaches on dropped third-strike

In a 1-1 game, Doug Eddings said that Angels catcher Josh Paul dropped the third strike from Kelvim Escobar. The Angels didn’t think so and ran off the field, meanwhile Pierzynski ran to first. And as all Angels fans know, the White Sox went on to win the game after Pablo Ozuna was doubled-home by Joe Crede that inning. White Sox win series then go on to win the World Series.

As Dan Rozenson points out via Baseball Prospectus’ own instant replay article, even after the bad call, Mike Scioscia was not in favor of instant replay at the time. Quote Scioscia, ” “I’m not in favor of replay at all. … Certainly not on something like that. There might be some replay that can come in on a home run fair or foul or fan interference, something like that, but as far as plays around the bases or home plate or pitches like that, I don’t think the replay is anything that we should bring into the game.”

Wonder if Scioscia still feels that way.

Angels vs. Yankees in Game Four of the 2009 ALCS

The scene: Angels down 5-0 in the ALCS and down two games to one, are desperately trying to not go down 3 games to one. With men on second and third in the fifth inning, Nick Swisher hits a comebacker to the mound., Posada whose on third, is running on contact. Darren Oliver throws home and Mike Napoli chases down Posada as Cano at second moves to third. Napoli runs Posada off the bag and then tags Cano who is off the base, then Posada who is also off the base. Double-play?

Nope. Tim McClelland calls Cano safe. Clearly, a terrible call. In the end, though, it didn’t matter. The Angels lost 10-1. Still, it could have changed the momentum of the game.

Erick Aybar Misses the Suicide Squeeze Bunt in the 2008 ALDS

Once again, the heavily favored Angels are down two games to none in a five game series. Down 2-0 nothing through seven innings, the Angels rallied and tied the game in the 8th. In the top of the ninth, Kendrys Morales leads off with a double and Reggie Willits comes in as a pinch-runner. Willits moves to third on a sacrifice and Erick Aybar comes up to bat. Mike Scioscia makes a gutsy move and calls for the suicide squeeze but Aybar misses the bunt and Willits gets caught in a run-down between third and home. As Jason Varitek chases down Willits and tags him he falls down and the ball pops out. Willits is called out.

Upon review of the play, it looks as though the ground causes Varitek to lose the ball. Instant replay may have still ruled Willits out but it would have been good to review and be interesting to see what the call would be.