In the first installment of this trilogy of Pirate first half best/worst oddities, we’ll be taking a look at the calls that screwed the Pirates over the most.
I’ll be the first to admit I am ripping off Jeff Sullivan for this post idea. Sue me. (Please don't sue me, Mr. Sullivan.)
We complain about umps all the time, but what were their worst calls?
According to Baseball Savant, the Pirates took 28 called strikes on what they categorized as “chase” pitches. That’s near the top of the league.
Entering Sunday, here’s a pitch map of where said called strikes were located.
After measuring, the most egregious called strike was...
Poor Bryan Reynolds was the recipient of that called strike on May 12 in St. Louis. It was the first pitch he saw all day.
But what was the worst called strike three? Well, that happened to poor Jason Martin on Apr. 14.
As if facing Max Scherzer wasn’t tough enough.
For the pitchers, there have been 13 times where they threw the pitch over the “heart” of the plate but still had it called a ball, according to Baseball Savant. Again, that’s a bit on the high side.
Here’s where those balls landed.
The pitch that was closest to the center is the sinker in the upper part of the bottom LHB quadrant. That came June 15 in Dario Agrazal’s first major league start.
He did miss the glove, but Diaz’s dramatic slide didn’t help the presentation.
The worst called ball four goes to another rookie, Mitch Keller, on June 18.
But let’s not make this article completely negative. The most generous called ball in favor of the Pirates may have won them a game. On Apr. 19, Madison Bumgarner couldn’t get strike two on this pitch.
Kang wound up walking on a full count later in the plate appearance, sparking a four run, two out rally. That’s all the offense they got that night in the win.
You win some, you lose some.