In Game 2 of the ALDS between New York and Cleveland, Yankees Manager Joe Girardi failed to call for a review on a play that should have been ruled strike three but was unfortunately called a hit-by-pitch. Instead of the third and final out of the inning, the hit batsman (Lonnie Chisenhall) loaded the bases, and Francisco Lindor then proceeded to hit a grand-slam. In a game that New York had led 8-3 to that point, Lindor’s slam brought Cleveland to within one run, and they’d tie the game in the 8th, and eventually win it in the 13th.
Despite Girardi and the Yankees failure to request a review in such a critical ball game, they still led all of baseball when it comes to their success rate requesting reviews this season (70.7%). This compared to the 25% success rate (the worst success rate by a wide margin, mlbreplaystats.com) that the Blue Jays had with their reviews in 2017. If it isn’t embarrassing enough that the Blue Jays were 1 out of 4 this season with respect to overturning calls, 17 of 30 teams in baseball had a success rate over 50%. In other words, over half the teams in baseball had a success rate double that of Toronto when requesting reviews.
Toronto’s ineptitude when requesting replays isn’t specific to just 2017 either. In 2016 they had the lowest success rate (36.5%), in 2015 they had the 27th worst rate (40.4%), and then in 2014, they finished last yet again with a 34.8% success rate. Since Managers were given the right to request reviews, Toronto’s had the worst success rate in overturning calls in 3 of the 4 years.
So what gives, why is it that the Blue Jays have had such poor results with their reviews?
The thing is, it isn’t just one problem, but several, and we’ll go through them now. How many times have we seen Toronto burn-up a review in the first 1-2 innings on the first close play of a ball game? Toronto, like all the other teams, receives one review for the first six innings of play. And yet they’ll so often use it (and often waste it) on a relatively meaningless play early in the game.
Every team has someone somewhere looking at the replays during that 30-second countdown whose job it is to inform the coaching staff whether or not a review is in order. With a 34.4% success rate over the past four seasons, maybe it’s time for Toronto to bring in someone new to do these reviews. And perhaps this person needs to have an unbiased opinion towards the Blue Jays, instead of someone who’s so pro-Blue Jays and thinks that Toronto should most certainly review any close play that goes against them.
Since the advent of the review system for Managers back in 2014, the Blue Jays have had four years where they’ve failed miserably to take advantage of such a luxury. They’re by far the worst team in all of baseball when it comes to reviews, and although it isn’t a huge deal, how difficult would it really be to get more than one measly review out of four right?