Ausmus: Standards for replay have changed
DETROIT -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and replay coordinator Matt Martin thought they had another run when they saw the replay of Anthony Gose's slide into home plate in Tuesday night's 5-2 loss to the Reds. Ausmus' postgame frustration had to do with more than that call.
So far, the replay review results this season have left him and his staff guessing at what constitutes enough video evidence to make a play worth challenging.
"In my mind, instant replay has regressed this year. It's gone backward," he said. "And I know I'm not the only one across baseball who feels that way.
"Very quickly in 2014, you kind of had an understanding of where that line was between sufficient and insufficient evidence. That line is blurry now. There's been a number of calls this year that I think a year ago would have been overturned. I'm not sure I have a solution for it, but I think it's moving backward.
"And I'll say this: I was a big fan of instant replay last year. I thought it was a good thing. I thought, for the most part, they changed calls in order to get the play right, and they did that on a regular basis. I'm not seeing that this year."
The play in question for Ausmus on Tuesday was a Gose slide at the plate in the fifth inning. Gose broke for home as Yoenis Cespedes' comebacker, having deflected hard off pitcher Michael Lorenzen, rolled into foul territory near the first-base dugout.
First baseman Joey Votto fired home to Brayan Pena, who turned and stood in front of the plate to tag Gose as he tried to slide between Pena's tag. Home-plate umpire Mike Everitt called Gose out.
Gose, for his part, agreed with the call.
"Yeah, I thought I was out," he said. "I shouldn't have been going in that situation."
The Tigers, Ausmus said, had to decide whether to challenge the tag or whether Pena illegally blocked the plate. Ausmus thought they had a better chance at getting an overturn on the tag. After a 3-minute, 38-second review, the out call stood.
"He looked clearly safe," Martin said. "I thought we'd get the overturn and take the lead 3-2. As you saw, that didn't happen."
That got Ausmus going after the game.
"I'd like someone to explain to me what sufficient and insufficient evidence is," he said, "because last year, we had a pretty good idea what that was, and I can't tell you what it is this year. I really can't."
Asked if that has affected the challenges they make, Ausmus continued.
"There's been so many that we thought were clear that there's been no change, where we thought there should've been a change," Ausmus said. "That's what I'm saying: We don't know where the line is. We do not understand when they're going to overturn a play unless it is absolutely blatant. And that's a problem.
"So sometimes we're just throwing a Hail Mary. We think it's conclusive and we're throwing a Hail Mary, and they come back and they say they can't confirm, or it's unconfirmed. I just don't know what the line is. Last year, we knew what the line was. We had a pretty good idea when we were challenging, whether we had a shot or not, and sometimes we took risks when we weren't sure if we had a shot. But generally speaking, when we challenged and we knew it was going to be overturned, it was overturned."