Jack Morris’ top 7 seasons (ERA+) had a 124-69 record ~ Verlander’s 7*-year run has a 124-65 record…so he can league levelly leak rancidity for the next decade and be Jack Morris!
Because there is a place on the Internet for everything statistical in baseball, there – of course – exists a website that measures an umpire’s performance. It is called Brooksbaseball.net. And if you click the tab marked “Strikezone Map Tool,” and tap in the date of Saturday’s first game of the American League division series, you will see that home plate umpire Jim Reynolds called 10 strikes outside of a typical strike zone against the Oakland Athletics.
These pitches would be up to a foot outside of the normal zone and they were all thrown by Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander to Oakland’s left-handed hitters.
This would explain why several of those hitters stalked away from the plate, muttering at Reynolds, after striking out on strikes that were not strikes.
But it also explains part of the brilliance of a man who is probably the best pitcher in baseball: When given the gift of a strike zone wider than it should be, he knows just how to exploit it.
“To his credit, he utilized the strike zone he was given,” said A’s right fielder Josh Reddick after Oakland lost the first game of this series 3-1 to Verlander and the Tigers.
Few pitchers are as gifted as Verlander. Few can heave a baseball as hard as 100 mph to a spot outside the strike zone and make it look so good the umpire will call it a strike every time. Most pitchers struggle enough to regularly get their pitches to go over home plate.
Posted: October 07, 2012 at 06:59 AM | 19 comment(s)
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