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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Buck Showalter, Tommy Hunter bemoan shrinking strike zone in Orioles loss

Hour by hour it gets smaller - and - smaller! Grant Williams, yes. Grant Angelos, no.

The glare that Buck Showalter shot home plate umpire Hal Gibson III as the Orioles manager exited the visiting dugout during the eighth inning to pull Brian Matusz spoke volumes.

A late-inning shrinking strike zone had made an already tough task—beating the Angels—tougher.

Angels starter Jered Weaver seemed to get the low strike call throughout the night in the Orioles’ 3-2 loss. But as a one-run Orioles lead turn into a one-run deficit in the bottom of the eighth due in part to three walks (one intentional), Gibson stopped giving the low strike call.

He umpired his first big-league game behind the plate in April.

“It’s an issue like expansion baseball,” Showalter said after Wednesday’s game. “When you expand you have a lot of players in the big leagues who normally wouldn’t be there. He was pretty consistent until late in the game. He’ll get better. He’s got a good attitude and a heart of fire. … That didn’t beat us, but I see the same thing you all do.”

...As Showalter glared during his walk to the mound, Hunter shook his head in the dugout. Several players yelled at Gibson.

“It was a little tight, but I don’t know,” Hunter said of the strike zone. “That’s something you can’t control. Try to control the things you can, and move on. He thought they were balls. I would see it a little differently. I’m a pitcher and he’s an umpire so I can see the disagreement we would have probably had with each other if we talked about it. Other than that, it is what it is.”

Repoz Posted: July 24, 2014 at 10:15 AM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: orioles

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   1. boteman Posted: July 24, 2014 at 10:32 AM (#4756823)
If only there were objective measurements of the pitches relative to the strike zone available. If only...
   2. AROM Posted: July 24, 2014 at 11:10 AM (#4756854)
Haven't looked at pitch fx, but from watching the game my impressions was:

1. For Iannetta, the pitches looked borderline, some could have been called strikes. This loaded the bases.
2. The pitches Calhoun took were clearly balls. This one brought in the go ahead run.

Buck might want to look at himself in the mirror though. This was set up when he ordered Hunter to intentionally walk the #8 hitter, Navarro, to get to Iannetta. The situation was 2 out, Aybar on third, 2 bases open. Hunter had just struck out Kendrick and Freese.
   3. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 24, 2014 at 11:31 AM (#4756866)
“It’s an issue like expansion baseball,”

Buck is an insufferable ass.
   4. Batman Posted: July 24, 2014 at 11:40 AM (#4756873)
“It was a little tight, but I don’t know,” Hunter said of the strike zone. “That’s something you can’t control. Try to control the things you can, and move on. He thought they were balls.
I miss Mike Piazza.
   5. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: July 24, 2014 at 12:25 PM (#4756914)
He thought they were balls.


Those are balls.
   6. JE (Jason) Posted: July 24, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4756970)
I'm sure Showalter was even more thrilled upon hearing about the rain-tarp shenanigans at Yankee Stadium.
   7. John DiFool2 Posted: July 24, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4757030)
If only there were objective measurements of the pitches relative to the strike zone available. If only...


If only...

I have two quibbles with the current state of the art when it comes to strike-zone measuring devices. First of all, the real strike zone isn't a 2D rectangle, but a 3D pentagonal prism. Those strike zone maps that you always see never tell you if a borderline pitch tailed in over the back of the plate (or tailed away) after it crossed the front of the plate (where I believe said rectangle is drawn), unless the newest ones have that functionality. Second, the pitch markers in question aren't the size of a baseball, like they should be, but are the size of marbles. Recall, any part of the ball needs to cross any part of the white part of the plate to be called a strike-but these maps will tell you that the marble, if it is just outside of the rectangle, must have been a ball.
   8. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: July 24, 2014 at 04:58 PM (#4757176)
“It was a little tight, but I don’t know,” Hunter said of the strike zone. “That’s something you can’t control. Try to control the things you can, and move on. He thought they were balls. I would see it a little differently. I’m a pitcher and he’s an umpire so I can see the disagreement we would have probably had with each other if we talked about it. Other than that, it is what it is.”
Mike Trout looked at a called full-count third strike two games ago against Baltimore that would have driven in a run. (Two pitches that AB were called strikes that on replay weren't close.) Buck wasn't whining when the call went his way, nobody wants to hear that #### when it doesn't.
   9. DKDC Posted: July 24, 2014 at 05:27 PM (#4757191)
Was Mike Trout whining about the calls last night, or just the one that didn't go his way a few days ago?

By the way, it was a 2-2 pitch Trout was called out on. It was very close but just outside according to pitch fx.

Hunter's pitches were equally borderline, but they didn't get the call. That doesn't excuse the other bad pitches in that at bat, or Buck leaving hunter in too long and putting Matusz in a no-margin for error situation.

And Buck and Trout should both stop whining.
   10. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: July 24, 2014 at 08:15 PM (#4757246)
Trout took the long way 'round, doing the "I'm not saying, I'm just saying look at the replay" type of comments, and I totally get those types of comments. When a ball/strike call doesn't go your way, it's frustrating. Declaring it to be a problem "like expansion baseball" is just dumb.
   11. boteman Posted: July 24, 2014 at 08:32 PM (#4757258)
#7 - I have seen some games this season that feature a 3-D graphic that shows the down-on view of the pitch crossing the plate complete with red frame outlining the plate itself, then rotating to the side to show the elevation view. I don't know if this facility is produced by the television crew or they are taking a feed from a system that is part of the ballpark.

To be honest, I've been watching so many different games recently that I can't pinpoint which broadcast it was, but it could have been one or more of: Giants, Orioles, Nationals, Athletics, Angels, or Pirates.

If a pitch catches the edge of the strike zone the umpire could call it either way, although if the strike zone as called is typically wide, one would expect even borderline pitches to be called strikes. I can't get upset until it's at least a ball-width wide of the zone and still called a strike, or conversely a pitch inside the zone called a ball. The latter typically occurs with pitches at the top or bottom of the zone.

Players and coaches will continue to gripe if they feel deprived by calls that went the other way. I don't expect that to change. I also don't expect reporters to stop quoting those gripes, so I just move on down to the next article.
   12. Bug Selig Posted: July 25, 2014 at 11:34 AM (#4757558)
How long has Buck Showalter been in the game? High school coaches know that griping about calls, especially when it isn't anything egregious, does you no good and makes you look like a no-class asshat.

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