Game 110: The Dodgers lose, and more about that first-inning double challenge.

Scott Van Slyke

Scott Van Slyke leaps but can’t catch a three-run home run by Francisco Liriano in the first inning Friday. (Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH — The Dodgers dropped their second straight one-run game to the Pirates on Saturday; this one didn’t feel quite the same as the first. The replay system did them no favors. The box score is here.

In case you were wondering (as I was at the time) what happened on the first challenge in the first inning, a short postscript:

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle (legally) challenged two calls on the same play: 1, that Jimmy Rollins was safe at second and 2, that Howie Kendrick was safe at first when the Pirates attempted to turn a double play.

The call at second base was overturned. Rollins was out. The call at first base stood because there wasn’t any clear and convincing evidence to change it. Kendrick stayed at first base.

The Pirates got to keep their challenge because, according to section II.B.1. of the official replay review rules, “If the Replay Official overturns any call challenged by a Club (even if he upholds other challenged calls), the Club retains its Manager Challenge.”

Who could have known the challenge would be used twice more in the game, and the Pirates would win both?

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Daily Distractions: Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks won’t have expanded instant replay in Sydney. That’s OK.

Sydney Cricket Ground baseball

A construction crane works on the area around the right field foul pole at the Sydney Cricket Ground. (John Blundell’s Twitter account)

The Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks won’t have expanded instant replay available to them for their season-opening games at Sydney Cricket Ground on March 22 and 23.

From the Associated Press:

The technology that MLB will use at other games during the regular season won’t be in place for the opener. Standard replay will be available in Australia for disputed home run and boundary calls under the format in place since 2008.

That could be a good thing.

There have been a few concrete takeaways from the use of instant replay so far in Cactus League. One is that the managers and umpires truly need time to practice. Learning what calls can be challenged by a manager, what calls can be challenged by an umpire — and when — hasn’t happened overnight.

Another is that some stadium camera angles suck.

Take this incident from yesterday’s game between the Angels and Cincinnati Reds:

(Angels catcher) Hank Conger was called safe at second base trying to stretch an RBI single into a double in the fifth inning. Reds manager Bryan Price challenged the call made by umpire Jim Reynolds. A television replay showed that Conger was tagged out, but the call was upheld by umpire Gerry Davis, who was monitoring replays from a truck in the parking lot.

Randy Marsh, MLB’s director of umpires, said that the television replay wasn’t available to Davis during the 2-minute, 15-second review. Only four in-house camera angles at Tempe Diablo Stadium were available, and none conclusively showed Conger being tagged out.

Davis saw the television replay after the call was upheld.

“It was an umpires’ nightmare,” Marsh said.

Price lost his only manager’s challenge of the game because of the decision to uphold the call.

Here’s a relevant question for the two games in Sydney: What’s worse, relying on the umpires to get the call right like baseball has for 125 years, or relying on less-than-conclusive camera angles just because the rules say you can?

Some bullet points for a Middle Name Pride Day:
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Coming to a ballpark near you: Goofy camera angles.

Joe Torre

Joe Torre was holding court in the Dodgers’ home dugout Tuesday afternoon in full uniform. In a way, it was like he never left — save the Team USA threads, the team of all-stars on the field, and the stakes of a World Baseball Classic exhibition game against the Chicago White Sox.

The range of topics he addressed with the media was befitting a man with one hand in Major League Baseball’s executive offices and another in the WBC. Torre is managing the United States entry in the international tournament, in uniform for the first time since he last managed the Dodgers in 2010. In the meantime, he’s worked out of MLB’s Manhattan offices as the league’s Executive Vice President, Business Operations, a job he briefly vacated to explore a purchase of the Dodgers.

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