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Entries in strike zone (8)

Friday
Jul082011

Who is getting Squeezed?

Time to check in on which pitchers aren't getting the close calls from umpires:

(ClStk%=called strikes/pitches taken; Data based on PitchFX strike zone.)C.J. Wilson (TEX) ranks number one in terms of the most pitches called balls in the strike zone with 124.  But this is due to volume; Wilson has thrown the second most pitches within the strike zone in the majors this season behind only Cliff Lee (PHI)

Doug Fister (SEA) and Cliff Lee rank second and third in most missed strikes with 114 and 108 respectively.  Chad Billingsley (LAD) comes in 4th with 107 missed strikes - combine that with his overall 17th ranking in lowest called strike percentage in the zone, and he's a good candidate for the most squeezed pitcher in baseball this season.

Sunday
Jun052011

Arguing the Strike Zone in the A's-Red Sox game

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:

10 Pitches (Click image to enlarge)

And here's Papelbon's called ball rate heat map from that ninth inning which incorporates all the pitches he threw:

28 pitches (Click image to enlarge)

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.

(Click image to enlarge)

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.

(Click image to enlarge)

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.

Tuesday
May172011

Called Strikes out of the Strike Zone

(All 2011 games through May 16th - min. 100 pitches taken outside of the strike zone)

The first column indicates the total number of pitches the batter has taken outside of the pitchFX defined strike zone.  The second column shows what percent of taken pitches out of the strike zone were called strikes. Six New York Mets made the list - that's nearly a quarter of the top 25.  Call it the Madoff effect.  Oakland comes in second with 4 batters making the list.  The majority of these pitches are located off the outside edge of the zone as the following graphic indicates.

Called Strikes outside the Strike Zone in 2011

Here's a list of the batters that have had the least "non-strike" strikes called against them.

(All 2011 games through May 16th - min. 100 pitches taken outside of the strike zone)

It's interesting that Jeff Francoeur gets the smallest percent of bad strikes called against him.  The RHB ranks in the bottom 6% of the league in chasing pitches out of the zone.  Umpires apparently appreciate his free-swinging ways.