Another day, another horrendous call

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The Twins and Joe Mauer were the latest victims of atrocious postseason umpiring in Friday’s game against the Yankees, when the likely MVP sliced a liner down the left-field line and had it drop a foot fair, only to see the ball ruled foul by left-field umpire Phil Cuzzi.
Cuzzi did have to contend with left fielder Melky Cabrera’s body on the play, as the ball ticked off Cabrera’s glove and then dropped, but he hardly seemed to be screened. He should have had a clear view of the ball coming down inside the line.
Cuzzi’s sole purpose in being on the field is making that call, and he simply didn’t do his job. It’s just the latest example of an obvious call being missed by a seemingly bored umpire, and it’s yet another in a long line of great cases for expanded instant replay in baseball.
Forget putting six umpires on the field. Simply put one in the booth with the TBS, FOX or whatever feed in front of him. Within 10 seconds of Cuzzi making the call, it was obvious to the millions of people watching that he had blown it. Why should anyone stand for it? We need to let the players on the field decide the game’s outcome, and technology can help get us closer to that goal.

Mike Trout has yet to strike out this spring

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Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.

But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.

To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).

According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.