Outside strikes to lefties are becoming a problem

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Our Blue Jays commenters are fit to be tied today due to the called strikes to Melky Cabrera in the ninth inning of last night’s Jays-Rays game. Strikes one and three to Melky were clearly outside. Here’s Brooks Baseball’s plot of the at bat:

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Pitch one and three were called strikes, pitch two was fouled off. It’s not unlikely that Cabrera felt he had to swing at that due to the call on the first pitch.

Cliff Corcoran pointed this out at SI this morning. And noted that it’s not an isolated incident. There are a ton of outside-the-zone calls being made against left-handed hitters. What’s more, the increase in strikeouts this year is being driven largely by called third strikes, not swinging strikes.

Are the umps setting up poorly and missing the outside corner? Are they, as they have been wont to do over baseball history, just deciding to call certain things in new ways all of a sudden?  Do we have a bizarro Tom Glavine situation at work here?

He gone! Hawk Harrelson called his last game yesterday

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Ken Harrelson has been broadcasting for decades but yesterday was his last one. As of today the Hawk has hung up his mic and entered retirement. He gone!

Harrelson, 77, who played in the majors for nine seasons with the A’s, Red Sox, Indians and Senators and led the AL in RBI in 1968. He was also the White Sox’ general manager for a single season in the mid-80s. That didn’t go well — he famously fired Tony La Russa and Dave Dombrowski and traded away a young Bobby Bonilla, but his career as a broadcaster went swimmingly.

Harrelson served as a Red Sox broadcaster from 1975 through 1981. Despite his reputation as an unrepentant homer for his White Sox — who he called “the good guys,” as opposed to the “bad guys” playing them — he was actually fired as a Red Sox broadcaster for being critical of ownership. He then embarked on his first stint with the White Sox before his move into the front office, worked as a Yankees broadcaster from 1987-88 and worked games for NBC’s Game of the Week in the mid-1980s as well. He then returned to call games for the White Sox in 1990 and the rest is history.

Hawk will still be a team ambassador for Chicago so he not totally gone, but the White Sox broadcast booth is entering a new era.