Third time the charm: D-backs get call reversed
Cubs manager Renteria asks for two challenges, but both reviews upheld
PHOENIX -- If there was ever any doubt that review of instant replay would change the face of Major League Baseball, those doubts were eliminated at Chase Field on Saturday.
There were three reviews in the game. And on the third one, in which D-backs baserunner Mike Jacobs was deemed out trying to score on a throw to the plate by center fielder Matt Szczur, the call by umpire Quinn Wolcott was overturned, giving the D-backs their eighth run in what turned out to be a 9-8 loss.
The overturn of a crucial call at the plate is one of the big reasons why increased instant replay review is being introduced for first time this season.
"That was a big play, really," said D-backs manager Kirk Gibson, who came out on the field immediately and asked Wolcott to review the call. "I went right out there because I saw the play pretty clearly. I just said, 'I want you to take a look at it. I want to challenge it.' It's a little bit weird with all the challenges. It's just something we're going to have to get used to."
The replay was shown to the crowd on the center-field scoreboard and fans could see that Jacobs' foot had touched the plate before Cubs catcher Eli Whiteside had applied the tag.
Gibson said that even though it was the seventh inning, since he hadn't utilized his challenge in the first six innings of the game, he had to use it when he went out in the seventh to challenge the key play at the plate. Otherwise, it's up to the discretion of the crew whether to review any play in the final three innings and extra innings of a game.
"You get one in the first six innings, but if you still have it [after that] you have to go out," Gibson said. "If I still had it in the ninth inning, I'd have to go out there and demand the challenge. I think mostly in seven-eight-nine, if you've lost your challenge and you go out there like [Cubs manager Rick] Renteria did, I think they will [review the play]. But if you have it for sure, they have to."
Renteria lost his challenge in the fifth inning when D-backs reliever Joe Thatcher came on with runners on first and third to face Chris Valaika and got him to ground out to third.
Eric Chavez's throw across the diamond short-hopped Paul Goldschmidt at first, and it appeared in real time that Valaika may have beaten the throw.
After a brief delay, the ruling was upheld and the D-backs were out of the inning.
Thus, in the top of the seventh, when Renteria felt he had to challenge again, he could only go out in the field and plead his case. The umpires again acquiesced. Jacobs hit a grounder to Valaika at first, who threw to Javier Baez at second for what the Cubs thought would be a force on Cliff Pennington.
It was ruled that Pennington was safe at second because Baez did not touch the base.
Because the Cubs were quickly trying to board a plane for Pittsburgh where they open the season against the Pirates on Monday, Renteria was not available to comment.
Asked if he liked the new replay system, Gibson said: "I have to get used to it. It doesn't matter whether I like it or not. I think that the purpose of it is sound. We all agree with that and support it."
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.