Obviously a couple calls at first base ended up being pivotal points in this game and given the timing of the below story, people might be inspired to go on another umpire rant.
As calls to expand instant replay in the game continue, ESPN's ... [r]esearchers used broadcast footage of all games from June 29 to July 11 -- 184 in total -- and reviewed every call, with the exception of balls and strikes. The overwhelming majority of the calls (fair or foul, safe or out) were so obvious they did not require any sort of review.
But the "Outside the Lines" analysis found that an average of 1.3 calls per game were close enough to require replay review to determine whether an umpire had made the right call. Of the close plays, 13.9 percent remained too close to call, with 65.7 percent confirmed as correct and 20.4 percent confirmed as incorrect.
I reviewed the tag on Figgins using multiple angles and super slo-mo, slowing the video down to individual frames. I couldn't tell whether Matt LaPorta made the tag or not. It does not appear that he did, but there's no definitive camera angle available to me. If that call was blown, that cost the Mariners at least one run.
Someone will then say, who cares, the Mariners lost 9-1? "You should care", I would retort "because all things are interdependent." First, there's no telling how many runs the Mariners end up scoring in that innings. Secondly, perhaps with some run support on the board, Felix does not go off the deep end in the 7th inning. Nobody can know. That is important point number one to take from this game.
But I am not sure the throw beat Valbuena.
While I fully support the intelligent expansion of instant replay in baseball (and other sports) and I think the ESPN piece illustrates that blown calls are a very real problem in the game today, with the close calls at first base today - both of them appear literally 50/50 to me.