Pretty darn bad! Jeff Passan — citing Brooks Baseball’s chart of last night’s game — notes that Wendelstedt missed 31 ball-strike calls on Thursday. In the two other games, the umps missed 21 calls combined. Passan nails it:
This is not normal. It is not close. In the Atlanta-San Francisco game
Thursday, Dana DeMuth missed nine calls. With Texas-Tampa Bay, Jim Wolf
was wrong 12 times. Both were reasonable. Both, too, are a good umpires . . . This is a matter of integrity. Umpires, as Yankees manager Joe Girardi
said, “aren’t robots, and they don’t have X-ray vision.” They must,
however, live up to a high standard, and those who don’t ought be
Thinking so is not just a Twins fan whine (or, on basepath calls, a Braves fan whine). The Yankees were victimized just as badly if not worse by the zone than the Twins were.
Some may argue that “hey, it all evens out,” but that’s not satisfying to me. Bad calls extend games for pitchers and force managers to and players to work around them in ways that lead to all kinds of unexpected and uncertain outcomes. The fact that the victim of bad calls on Monday may be the beneficiary on Wednesday is cold comfort.
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge found himself front-and-center in a weird play in the bottom of the fourth inning during Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday evening. Judge drew a walk to lead off the frame. After Didi Gregorius lined out, Gary Sanchez flied out to shallow right-center.
Judge must have thought the ball had a high probability of falling in for a hit, so he was past the second base bag around the time he realized his mistake. He retraced his steps, running back to first base. Reddick’s throw hopped a couple of times but first base umpire Jerry Meals called Judge out on the tag-up play.
Manager Joe Girardi requested a review and the call was overturned: Judge was safe. However, Astros manager A.J. Hinch wanted to challenge that Judge did not re-touch second base on his way back. Rather than issuing a formal challenge, the Astros had to appeal the play by having starter Lance McCullers throw to second base, at which point second base umpire Jim Reynolds would issue a ruling. McCullers was a bit hasty, though, and made his appeal throw before Greg Bird stepped into the batter’s box. Reynolds told McCullers that he had to wait. So, McCullers again made his appeal throw.
This time, Judge was running and he was simply tagged out at second base for the final out of the inning. No need for a review.
As Ken Rosenthal explained on the FS1 broadcast, the Yankees were trying to “beat the police.” They knew Judge would have been ruled out — replays clearly showed he never re-touched the base — so they had nothing to lose by sending Judge. If he was safe, the Astros would no longer be able to appeal the play. If he’s out, then it’s the same outcome they would have had anyway.