Last night, both Jason Varitek (BOS) and Jonathan Papelbon (BOS) were ejected in the top of the ninth inning for arguing the strike zone with home plate umpire Tony Randazzo. Varitek was ejected first after a Cliff Pennington (OAK) double that cut the Red Sox lead over the A's to two runs.
First, let's look at all the called balls Papelbon had from the game:
And here's Papelbon's called ball rate heat map from that ninth inning which incorporates all the pitches he threw:
Other than that one spot middle-down, Randazzo really didn't miss any called strikes. And as for that missed strike call? Well, it was the third pitch of Landon Powell's plate appearance. Papelbon had him 0-2 and that should have ended the atbat. But it did little to effect the inning because he eventually struck Powell out swinging on the 7th pitch.
Kevin Youkilis also gave Randazzo a hard time after the ump rang the Red Sox third baseman up on a Brad Ziegler (Oak) curveball in the 8th inning.
Ziegler started him out with two sinkers, and finished with two curveballs which both caught the outside of the plate, the last well within the pitchFX defined strike zone.
Ironically, one of the biggest missed strikes from last night came while Youkilis batted in the 4th inning. Oakland starter Trevor Cahill threw him a 3-2 curveball that seemed to land right in the middle of the plate, yet was called ball four.
Cahill's sixth, and last pitch of the AB looks to have caught more than enough of the plate, but Randazzo didn't see it that way. The first pitch, a changeup, was also called a ball by Randazzo, but appears to have caught the corner. Cahill would get David Ortiz (BOS) to hit into an inning ending double play two pitches after walking Youkilis, however. So much like the missed called strike to Powell in the ninth, no harm done.