Umpire Lance Barksdale blames catcher for blown call

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There was a lot of talk about the strike zone during last night’s game, with a whole lot of calls — mostly high and on the corners — being missed by home plate umpire Lance Barksdale. Given that the game was 7-1 those missed calls really had nothing to do with the outcome, but they were pretty notable.

But not as notable as one particular missed call that, it seems anyway, was not a function of Barksdale not being able to properly ascertain the difference between a ball and a strike. Rather, it was because he apparently thought Nationals catcher Yan Gomes was showing him up.

During the sixth inning, Nats pitcher Tanner Rainey threw a pitch to Astros outfielder Michael Brantley that pretty clearly caught the bottom corner and should’ve been strike three. Gomes, as a lot of catchers do when they know their pitcher made their pitch, caught it, bounced up and headed for the dugout. Barksdale called it a ball, however.

Why? Because, Barksdale said, “you were taking off on me,” suggesting that he called it a ball because Gomes got out of his crouch assuming the strike call, which Barksdale thought was disrespectful. Gomes immediately got Barksdale’s drift and said, “oh, it’s my fault?” Which I imagine might’ve gotten him run out of the game if it wasn’t October, but here we are:

An umpire missing a call because he’s bad at telling a ball from a strike is not great, but at least it’s just a mistake. An umpire blaming a missed call on the catcher — with the implication that, perhaps, he might’ve called it differently if his feelings weren’t hurt — is another thing altogether.

Umpires are gonna be upset if and when they’re replaced with automated systems to call balls and strikes. But they’ll be at least partially to blame if it happens.

Mariners sign RHP reliever Trevor Gott to 1-year contract

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SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners have begun the process of bolstering their bullpen by signing right-hander Trevor Gott to a one-year contract on Wednesday.

Gott appeared in 45 games last season with Milwaukee, going 3-4 with a 4.14 ERA. Gott had 44 strikeouts in 45 2/3 innings and held opponents to a .204 batting average.

Gott’s signing helps fill a void created when Erik Swanson was traded to Toronto as part of the deal that brought slugger Teoscar Hernandez to Seattle earlier this month. Gott has also pitched for San Francisco, Washington and the Los Angeles Angels.

Last season with the Brewers, Gott saw significant drops in batting average against and walk percentage, while raising his strikeout percentage.

Seattle also made a front office announcement Wednesday with the promotion of Andy McKay to assistant general manager. McKay has been with the club since 2015, when he was hired as the director of player development. McKay was promoted to senior director of baseball development in November 2021.

In his new role, McKay will oversee baseball development at all levels of the organization.