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Replay challenges help Brewers, save MLB from major headache

The ball hits the glove of Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar just before Los Angeles Dodger Cody Bellinger's foot hits first base.

Upon further review … Major League Baseball dodged a bullet Friday night thanks to its replay challenge system.

A couple days before the National League Championship Series between the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers opened on Friday, former Miami Marlins team president David Samson drew some attention Major League Baseball could not have been happy with.

“MLB is going to do anything they can to have the Dodgers beat the Brewers,” Samson said in a radio interview on “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz.”

Not being a conspiracy theory kind of person, my first thought was, “Yeah, right.” After all, games are won on the field, not in smoke-filled board rooms. The games are televised nationally, with cameras covering every angle. What could MLB do to turn the series for the Dodgers? Well, obviously, the umpires could miss a few calls.

They did.

The Brewers, who had baseball’s worst record for 2018 in Replay Challenges, won two of them Friday night.

Domingo Santana was called out on an attempt to steal second base in the fourth inning. Replays showed his foot on the base before the tag. Santana eventually scored a huge run in a one-run victory.

In the ninth inning, with the Brewers clinging to a 6-4 lead, Cody Bellinger led off with what called an infield single. Replays showed Mike Moustakas’ throw hitting Jesus Aguilar’s glove a split second before Bellinger’s foot hit the bag, and the call was overturned. Bellinger would have scored on Chris Taylor’s triple, adding another run to the LA total.

Without replay to overturn those two missed calls, we might be talking about a 6-5 Dodgers victory, rather than a 6-5 Brewers victory. And if those calls were left to stand and the result switched, a “the fix is in” narrative would be sweeping through the world of social media like a California wildfire — a fire MLB might never be able to put out.

Entering Friday night, the Brewers were 6-33 in replay challenges in 2018. They’re now 8-33. And you can bet MLB is thankful Saturday isn’t dawning with a huge fuss it would need to address.

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