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DOWN THE LINE

Joe Torre still isn't a fan of expanded instant replay

After video showed a plate umpire blew a call in the 19th inning of a game between Atlanta and Pittsburgh, giving the Braves a win, Torre says instant replay can never replace judgment calls by umpires.

July 30, 2011|By Kevin Baxter
  • Joe Torre watches batting practice at Citi Field in New York before a Mets-Braves game last month.
Joe Torre watches batting practice at Citi Field in New York before a Mets-Braves… (Jim McIsaac / Getty Images )

Replaying the use of video

When he was managing the Dodgers, Joe Torre said he opposed the expanded use of instant replay, calling it an imperfect solution.

Such pronouncements didn't mean much then since Torre was just a manager. But now that he's MLB's executive vice president in charge of baseball operations — essentially the man in charge of everything that happens on the field — his words have wide influence.

And Torre hasn't changed his view on expanded replays, even after video evidence showed plate umpire Jerry Meals blew a call in the 19th inning of Tuesday's Braves-Pirates game, giving the Braves a crucial win.

"I have heard many discussions on umpiring and technology over the past two years, including both the pros and the cons of expanding replay," Torre said in statement. "However, most in the game recognize that the human element always will be part of baseball and instant replay can never replace all judgment calls by umpires. Obviously, a play like this is going to spark a lot of conversation, and we will continue to consider all viewpoints in our ongoing discussions regarding officiating in baseball."

That go-slow approach is one shared by Commissioner Bud Selig. Baseball currently employs instant replay on boundary calls for home runs but has so far resisted calls to expand its use.

Winless in Seattle

Can it get any worse in Seattle? It sure seems as if the Mariners are trying to find out.

Not only did they lose a franchise-record 17 consecutive games, but after taking a day off to celebrate their first win in nearly a month, the Mariners were shut out Friday, getting just three hits in an 8-0 loss to Tampa Bay.

That left the Mariners 5-22 in their last 27 games and 5-19 in July with two games left. You have to go all the way back to last year, when the team went 6-22, to find the worst July in franchise history.

When the losing streak started on July 6 in Oakland, Seattle was .500 and just 2 ½ games out of first in the American League West. When the Mariners woke up Saturday they were 15 games back in the division race and on pace for their third 90-loss season in four years.

It was a total team collapse for Seattle, whose pitchers gave up more than 10 hits a game and posted a 5.93 ERA during the losing streak. At the plate the Mariners, who rank last in baseball this season in runs, average and on-base percentage, were shut out three times — not counting Friday — and scored just once in five other games, averaging 2.6 runs a loss.

Is there any reason to think there won't be a complete house cleaning in Seattle this winter?

Stat watch(Rookie edition)

Pitchers have won four of the last six A.L. Rookie of the Year awards, a trend that figures to continue this year. Tampa's Jeremy Hellickson leads AL rookies with nine wins and a 3.27 ERA while Detroit reliever Al Alburquerque is 5-1 with a 2.43 ERA and Angel closer Jordan Walden has 24 saves.

In the NL, where Florida's Dontrelle Willis was the last pitcher to win rookie honors in 2003, Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel has 31 saves while the Mets' Dillon Gee is 10-3.

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