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Sunday, October 07, 2012

Carpenter: Tigers ace Justin Verlander takes advantage of wide strike zone to beat A’s

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.

Repoz Posted: October 07, 2012 at 07:59 AM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: oakland, tigers

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   1. RMc's Unenviable Situation Posted: October 07, 2012 at 08:49 AM (#4257601)
“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.

A poor craftsman always blames his tools, Mr. 0-for-3 with 3 strikeouts.

Pretty much a must-win for Detroit: at home, with their ace on the mound. Still can't score any runs, but we'll take it. Oakland needs Game 2; it wouldn't be cool to go down 0-2 even headed home, with Verlander lurking for a Game 5.

12 noon (and 9am in Oakland!) on the MLB Network. Will anyone other than A's and Tigers fans be watching?
   2. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: October 07, 2012 at 09:32 AM (#4257608)
I will, until 1....then I will watch Matt Ryan torch my Redskins secondary
   3. McCoy Posted: October 07, 2012 at 09:35 AM (#4257609)
So you're saying that Verlander is a tool and furthermore is Reddick's tool?
   4. Hack Wilson Posted: October 07, 2012 at 09:57 AM (#4257616)
On some of Verlander's pitches I was waiting for Uecker to say, "a bit outside." And them the umpire calls a strike. I'm not sure Maddox or Glavine would have gotten those calls.
   5. Esoteric Posted: October 07, 2012 at 10:18 AM (#4257620)
I thought Reddick actually handled that comment the right way, RMc. There is simply no doubt that last night's strike zone was...reminiscent of Eric Gregg. And Verlander made use of it the moment he realized he was getting those calls. I don't blame him at all. He's smart, on top of being incredibly physically gifted as a hurler. I do blame the umps.

(Then again, I'll admit: I want a Oak/Bal ALCS.)
   6. Mayor Blomberg Posted: October 07, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4257690)
I'll be watching now that I saw your note. Guess I should have figured it'd start that early. A's fans are lucky: see the game and have the whole damned day left.
   7. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: October 07, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4257698)
The strike zone was frustrating but it seemed consistent enough. I know hitters are supposed to adjust but it's not easy to switch that kind of pitch recognition on and off like that, especially with Justin ####### Verlander on the mound. Ah well, today is another day!
   8. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: October 07, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4257739)
A playoff game and it's on a channel that many people don't get with basic cable? boo
   9. McCoy Posted: October 07, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4257753)
I can certainly see MLB's reasoning on this. They are trying to create demand for their channel thus making it available to a larger audience in future years.
   10. Chris Fluit Posted: October 07, 2012 at 01:00 PM (#4257779)
The strike zone was frustrating but it seemed consistent enough. I know hitters are supposed to adjust but it's not easy to switch that kind of pitch recognition on and off like that, especially with Justin ####### Verlander on the mound. Ah well, today is another day!


I agree. He consistently called the outside pitch but not the inside pitch. I noticed a few inside pitches that were considered a strike by the K-zone but not called as such by the ump.
   11. UCCF Posted: October 07, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4257822)
I can certainly see MLB's reasoning on this. They are trying to create demand for their channel thus making it available to a larger audience in future years.

Yep. I bet we're not more than a couple of years away from seeing an NFL Wild Card round game on the NFL Network. (Note - though now I'm thinking they just signed a new media deal, so it may be not until the next deal.)
   12. Bourbon Samurai, what price fettucine? Posted: October 07, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4257855)
I will, until 1....then I will watch Matt Ryan torch my Redskins secondary


Going better than expected so far!
   13. toratoratora Posted: October 07, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4257871)
A 9 AM game is just bizarre.
   14. esseff Posted: October 07, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4257880)
A's fans are lucky: see listen to the game and have the whole damned day left.
   15. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 07, 2012 at 02:16 PM (#4257899)
A 9 AM game is just bizarre.


It's much better than the Rockies-Phillies playoff game a couple years back that started at 10:20 Philadelphia time on a Sunday night.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: October 07, 2012 at 04:47 PM (#4258199)
I bet we're not more than a couple of years away from seeing an NFL Wild Card round game on the NFL Network.

Maybe ... but part of the reason that a playoff game is on MLB network is because the big boys are all obsessed with football.
   17. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: October 07, 2012 at 07:43 PM (#4258551)
I thought all of the reason that a playoff game is on MLB network is because they had to squeeze in the play-in games without pushing anything back.
   18. Dan Evensen Posted: October 07, 2012 at 10:17 PM (#4258697)
I thought all of the reason that a playoff game is on MLB network is because they had to squeeze in the play-in games without pushing anything back.

This was also my impression. I really don't think MLB wanted to have a playoff game on the MLB Network. There's got to be more benefits to having it on basic cable in both the short and long term.

Will anyone other than A's and Tigers fans be watching?

You know what's really sad? The fact that the A's are still going to leave that tarp up on the upper deck. Your team is finally in the postseason, but one of the games is being played at 9 AM on a weekday on a network that most people don't get. Then, when the team comes back home, it will leave 20,000+ seats unsold for no good reason.

What should be a great chance to rebuild the fan base is going to fail miserably -- especially if Detroit takes Game 3.
   19. Bug Selig Posted: October 08, 2012 at 12:01 PM (#4259102)
As a Tiger fan, nothing that has occurred on the field makes me feel good about my team's chances as much as Josh Reddick's nightly piss-and-moan sessions.

The umpire is screwing him, Al Alburquerque is disrespecting him, blah, blah, blah...

Try focusing on playing baseball. Just a thought.

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