10 key playoff storylines
Deep thoughts after Day 2 of the playoffs:
1. Bud Selig can't catch a break. He must have been cringing throughout the second day of the playoffs, because over and over, disputed calls by umpires were immediately followed by decisive hits. Michael Young should have been called out on a check swing, but wasn't, and then he blasted a three-run homer on the next pitch.
Lance Berkman took a two-strike pitch that appeared to be strike three, and then on the next pitch, he mashed a decisive double. Buster Posey was thrown out stealing second but was called safe, and right after that Posey scored the only run of the game in the Giants' victory.
Now, in the case of the check swing and the Pavano pitch to Berkman, those were calls that would not have been reviewable even if replay were expanded. And Berkman was right to say that the plate umpire was consistent throughout the game with his strike zone -- he was calling strikes on pitches just off the edge of the zone to left-handed hitters, and had a tighter zone on the inner half of the plate. And if Omar Infante makes a play on a grounder after the Posey call, then the Giants don't score in that inning.
But clearly, the pressure continues to mount on baseball to expand replay. And umpires were a big part of postgame discussions:
• Posey acknowledged that he was actually out on that play, as Andrew Baggarly writes within this notebook.
• Hunter Wendelstedt and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire have a history.
• Jerry Crawford spoke to the media after the Yankees-Twins game and demonstrated the greatest news-conference efficiency ever: Three questions were posed to him, and he produced seven words.
• Joe Girardi would be OK with replay expansion, as George King writes.
2. We've seen many pitchers go through offseason reformations and mental reconstructions, such as Cole Hamels. But to do so in the middle of a season is incredibly rare because of the high degree of difficulty. Remember Tim Lincecum's performance in August? He wasn't in a mere slump, he was one of major league baseball's worst pitchers, ranking 383rd among 393 with a 7.82 ERA.
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