Instant Replay needs some camera work

I’m watching tonight’s St. Louis Cardinals game and Matt Holliday ripped a ball right down the line that was called foul. The Cardinals challenged the call, which eventually stood, but it shows a massive problem that I have with the instant replay system in baseball.

If you haven’t noticed, some of the camera angles in baseball are great for watching the game, but horrible for actually determining things with precision. Like, there is no camera shot directly down the foul line to help determine whether the ball was fair or foul on review. Instead, the guy making the decision has to look for chalk being kicked up and distinguish it from grass. A ridiculously difficult judgement call, regardless of how high definition your cameras are.

In order to make the best and most accurate calls on review, Major League Baseball needs to review some camera positioning. We need an overhead shot of home plate and probably every base. We need cameras down each foul line. Hopefully someone at Major League Baseball will be reviewing every call reviewed and find better camera angles to determine whether the call was correct and work to correct it during the offseason. Otherwise most reviews will end up being a farce because there will never be enough evidence to overturn a call because the camera angles are ambiguous.

Bean balls, Rosenthal and a pinch hitter

I hate bean ball battles. Reading quotes from the Dodgers after last night’s game, they seem to be saying that hitting batters accidentally is bad, but hitting batters intentionally is absolutely okay. That makes total sense right?

Anyone who actually watched last night’s game knows that there was only one intentionally hit batter, and the pitcher who hit him was wearing Dodger blue. To me that erodes the moral high ground they are attempting to claim.

Furthermore, why do umpires even bother warning teams after the first intentionally hit batter? Why not immediately eject anyone you think intentionally hit a batter in the first place? Why not eject Kershaw and Mattingly for hitting Matt Holliday? It seems a little unfair that the Dodgers get to start the war, but are protected from being retaliated against. If an umpire feels like a batter was hit intentionally, he should immediately eject the pitcher. Anything less is stupid and makes baseball look like a farce.

Pitching inside is necessary in baseball. As a batter, if you don’t want to be hit you are capable of stepping back in the box. It works both ways. [click to continue…]

Wainwright being skipped for Dodgers’ Series

After previously informing the Dodgers that Lance Lynn would start tonight against them at Busch Stadium, the team filled in the rest of the weekend’s rotation as Joe Kelly and Carlos Martinez will face off against Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, respectively.

That means that Wainwright’s next start will most likely be Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Rays. Wainwright threw 7 shutout innings against the Rays when he faced them in June in a 1-0 victory against Jake Odorizzi. So when he does take the ball in the Tampa Bay series, it will have been at least 10 days since Wainwright’s last start, if you don’t include the inning he pitched in the All Star Game on Tuesday night.

According to the Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals have told Wainwright that the extra rest is to get him prepared to push at full strength the rest of the way.

Though it is also worth noting that the current rotation order also puts him in position to pitch against division foes Milwaukee, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh most often if he takes the ball every 5 games.

Cardinals add Kottaras

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have claimed catcher George Kottaras from the Cleveland Indians. The Indians DFA’d Kottaras earlier in the week. For the Cardinals, the move was motivated by the loss of Yadier Molina for the next 8-12 weeks and is a low risk move for the Cardinals.

Kottaras, 31, was my first thought if we were going to go outside the organization for a catcher. While he may not hit for average (a career .216 hitter) he does possess solid power (projecting to 23 home runs over 600 plate appearances). So far this season in the majors, he hit .286 with 3 home runs over 10 games for Cleveland. He is signed to a one year deal worth a little more than $1 million, so it represents little investment and cost for the team to give him a look.

The big question will be how they make room for him on the 40 man roster. The team moved Jaime Garcia to the 60 day DL this afternoon to make room for Joe Kelly on the 40 man roster (Tyler Lyons was optioned to Memphis to make room for Kelly on the 25 man roster). But the Cardinals currently have a full 40 man roster. There are three options for them going forward to make room.

The most obvious would be to move Molina to the 60 day DL since he is expected to miss at least 60 days following today’s surgery. The other option would be to move Keith Butler to the 60 day DL, but that would be a major league disabled list. That means the Cardinals would have to pay Butler a Major League salary and he would accrue service time. Or they could outright someone off the 40 man roster.

Edit: The Cardinals outrighted OF Mike O’Neill off the 40 man roster to make room for Kottaras. After a stellar 2013 campaign where he hit .314/.424/.369 in 130 games between Springfield and Memphis, he was sent to Double-A to start the season because of the excess of outfield depth the organization has. He has struggled this season, hitting .263/.345/.352 over 74 games.


Much ado about Yadi

This afternoon John Mozeliak announced that Yadier Molina will have surgery on a torn ligament in his right thumb tomorrow and will be out the next 8-12 weeks. Most likely that will mean that Molina is done for the season. Tony Cruz will become the Cardinals’ new starting catcher in the meantime with Audry Perez already in St. Louis to take Molina’s place on the roster as the team’s new backup catcher.

While I’ve chronicled on this blog that I’m not totally sold on Cruz’s ability to call a game or manage a staff (just looking at the differences in Catcher’s ERA between Molina and Cruz), I do think he has the ability to hit if given consistent playing time. Call it a gut feeling because last year when Molina made his trip to the disabled list, Cruz hit .205 as the primary catcher. And that totally doesn’t prove my point.

During the press conference, Mozeliak indicated that the organization has confidence in Cruz, but will look around to see if there is anyone that fits (read: cheap). From the sounds of it, they will give Cruz an opportunity to hold the job before beginning a serious search for a replacement.

If the Cardinals do want to make a move, there is A.J. Pierzynski, John Buck, and George Kottaras who have all been recently DFA’d by their teams. Potentially, those three will be available as free agents. Buck might be the team’s preference out of that list. But another option via trade would be to acquire Kurt Suzuki from Minnesota.

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