Sunday, May 31, 2015

Dodgers at Cardinals, 5/31/2015

**To learn about "Zone Score" & "Game Score", please see this post.**


HP Marty Foster
1B Mike Muchlinski
2B Mike Winters
3B Marcus Pattillo


Dodgers: Anderson, Hatcher, Garcia
Padres: Martinez, Siegrist, Rosenthal

Zone Score & Game Score for Marty Foster

Standard Strike-Zone
Dodgers v. LHH (DLSZ): +1
Dodgers v. RHH (DRSZ): +5

Cardinals v. LHH (OLSZ): 0
Cardinals v. RHH (ORSZ): +3

Adjusted Strike-Zone
Dodgers v. LHH (DLAZ): -1
Dodgers v. RHH (DRAZ): +1

Cardinals v. LHH (OLAZ): -3
Cardinals v. RHH (ORAZ): +1


Standard Strike-Zone Game Score: +3
Adjusted Strike-Zone Game Score: +2


Marty Foster called a fair and consistent game this afternoon. On paper his calls slightly favored the Dodgers but just by two calls with an insignificant impact on the game. His called Strike 3 to Justin Turner to end the game was arguably his worst call of the afternoon, and with an AB LI of 2.76 it was a very big miss. All things considered his performance behind the plate was acceptable, but the last two pitches to Turner at the end really soured what was otherwise a great game for him.

This Strike 3 call to Kozma to end the fourth inning was slightly inside, but technically in the Adjusted Strike-Zone:

I chose to highlight this pitch and screen-capped it from both telecasts in order to highlight the difference the CF camera angle can make on 'eyeballing' a pitch location. I tweeted about this yesterday (@dodgerbluereview). The Cardinals telecast has their CF cameras positioned in a straight line with the rubber and home plate. This makes it much easier to judge pitch location while watching the game. SportsNet LA chooses to use the slightly off-center angle that is better for presentation (the pitcher never blocks the view) but skews perception when judging exactly where a pitch is. This is why sometimes the actual data showing where a pitch was located doesn't seem to line up with the TV replay. You need to remember to account for the angle. As seen in this example, while the SportsNet LA off-center view makes it look like the pitch caught the inside corner, you can see from the straight-line angle that it was in fact a or three inches inside off the plate.

There were only two 'bad' calls made by Foster today. One was a missed strike call to Joc in the sixth inning:

This AB had a LI of 0.80. Pederson would draw a walk but be stranded at second.

The other beneficial call for the Dodgers was this strike 3 call to Peralta in the bottom of the sixth:

Peralta was leading off the inning and the AB had a LI of 0.45.

Finally, here are the final two pitches of the game to Turner:

Turner had a legitimate reason to be upset, particularly with the third strike. It was the farthest outside Foster had called a strike to a right-handed hitter all afternoon.
This is a good example of how even though an umpire and his Game Scores might favor one team, his impact on the game can be entirely different because some pitches are more important than others. Marty Foster had a very good afternoon calling balls and strikes and was mostly consistent. He technically gave the Dodgers more breaks, but the final two pitches of the game negated that fact.

Close Calls & Reviews:

There were not any challenges or reviews in this game.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Dodgers at Cardinals, 5/30/2015

**To learn about "Zone Score" & "Game Score", please see this post.**


HP Marcus Pattillo
1B Marty Foster
2B Mike Muchlinski
3B Mike Winters


Dodgers: Frias, Garcia, Liberatore
Padres: Wacha, Maness, Harris, Belisle, Villanueva

Zone Score & Game Score for Marcus Pattillo

Standard Strike-Zone
Dodgers v. LHH (DLSZ): +2
Dodgers v. RHH (DRSZ): +5

Cardinals v. LHH (OLSZ): +1
Cardinals v. RHH (ORSZ): -2

Adjusted Strike-Zone
Dodgers v. LHH (DLAZ): -2
Dodgers v. RHH (DRAZ): +2

Cardinals v. LHH (OLAZ): -1
Cardinals v. RHH (ORAZ): -2


Standard Strike-Zone Game Score: +8
Adjusted Strike-Zone Game Score: +3


Minor League umpire Marcus Pattillo replaced scheduled umpire Mark Wegner for this game. I'm not sure if this was a scheduled day off for Wegner or if he was sick, but it was nice of whoever is in charge to keep the "M-Crew" together by replacing Mark with Marcus to go along with Marty, Mike and Mike.

Pattillo was working his first game behind the plate in 2015. He worked 14 games there in 2014. It is telling that the 'rookie' had a better performance calling balls and strikes than noted vets Nauert and Winters. Pattillo had a good game that favored the Dodgers quite a bit. A few of his 'misses' were because of missed locations by the pitchers. Specifically:

Frias to Peralta in the first inning:

Frias to Jay in the second inning:

And Wacha to Turner in the sixth:

Calls benefitting the Dodgers included Ball 2 to Grandal in the second that should have been Strike 3:

Grandal would eventually ground out.

Ball 2 to Frias in the third that should have been Strike 3:

Frias would eventually strikeout anyway.

This first pitch Ball to Kendrick in the fourth:

Kendrick would draw a walk but be stranded at first after Ethier grounded out after him.

This first pitch called Strike to Carpenter was outside:

Carpenter would eventually single to RF.

The only noticeable call against the Dodgers (besides the pitches where Frias missed his spot indicated above) would be in Turner's AB in the sixth:

Turner would later get the benefit of a Ball (noted above when Wacha missed locations), and then hit his double that started the Dodger rally.

In the ninth inning, there were two calls to Peralta that pretty much evened out:


If I were a conspiracy kind of guy, I would profer the idea that after noticing what a bad job Winters did yesterday somebody brought up a rookie umpire to call a game that heavily favored the Dodgers. I don't really think that - I think this is simply a case of things naturally evening out - but if you want put on your tinfoil cap for some fun, well....

Close Calls & Reviews:

After the stress of last night's game and the madness of Mike Winters, it was nice to have a relatively easy and controversy free game. There were not any challenges or close plays that impacted the game.

Mark Wegner Day Off - Replaced By Marcus Pattillo

Scheduled home plate umpire for today Mark Wegner has been replaced by minor league umpire Marcus Pattillo. Pattillo is working his first game behind the plate this season - he worked 14 games there last season.

Dodgers at Cardinals, 5/29/2015

**To learn about "Zone Score" & "Game Score", please see this post.**


HP Mike Winters
1B Mark Wegner
2B Marty Foster
3B Mike Muchlinsky


Dodgers: Bolsinger, Howell, Nicasio, Rodriguez
Padres: Lackey, Siegrist, Rosenthal

Zone Score & Game Score for Mike Winters

Standard Strike-Zone
Dodgers v. LHH (DLSZ): +1
Dodgers v. RHH (DRSZ): +1

Cardinals v. LHH (OLSZ): 0
Cardinals v. RHH (ORSZ): +1

Adjusted Strike-Zone
Dodgers v. LHH (DLAZ): 0
Dodgers v. RHH (DRAZ): -5

Cardinals v. LHH (OLAZ): -7
Cardinals v. RHH (ORAZ): -2


Standard Strike-Zone Game Score: +1
Adjusted Strike-Zone Game Score: +4


Following my review of Paul Nauert's performance in the Braves game on Wednesday, I really didn't want to have to write about another horrible umpire. I don't want this blog to come across as a bitch-fest from a bitter Dodger fan... but Mike Winters had a ridiculously bad game as well. It started in the third, and then got really bad in the sixth and seventh innings.

Here is the funny part though; Mike Winters was actually worse for the Cardinals last night. His Game Scores indicate that he missed/made four more calls for the Cards than the Dodgers in the Adjusted strike-zone. The main take-away here should be his total of -14 for teams combined in the Adjusted Strike-Zone. That means he incorrectly called around fourteen pitches in the generally accepted strike-zone. Let's review:

The first really bad string was Lackey versus Pederson in the third inning:

First he gave Lackey a beneficial call on strike one:

Winters apparently felt he missed that call and decided to make it up with "ball" four:

The miss gave the Dodgers a baserunner. Joc would not score, but there was a negative effect on the game. The AB had a very low LI of 0.72. Notice that Joc's reaction was to immediately head towards first base. Apparently Mike Winters is heavily influenced by reactions - as noted by his comments to A.J. Ellis during his ejection from the game. More below.

The very next pitch, to Rollins, was technically a strike although I am not surprised Lackey did not get the call as he missed across the entire plate. Still a miss from Winters however:

The next bad miss from Winters was in the bottom of the third, on this first pitch to Girchuk from Bolsinger:

This is a very good example of what other blogs mean when they talk about Ellis' framing abilities. There is no reason that this should not have been a strike. Winters missed the call, but Ellis did not help Bolsinger the way he received the pitch. This miss put Girchuk up in the count and he eventually doubled and knocked in a run. It had a LI of 1.10.

This pitch was called a strike to Rollins in the sixth:

Notice Rollins' reaction. This Cardinal gift took the count to 2-2 instead of 3-1. Rollins would end up doubling. AB LI 1.41

Then came Molina's AB in the bottom of the sixth. First pitch:

This seemed to be the beginning of Ellis' frustration. Then came pitch 3:

Molina would end up grounding out, but not without a bonus of two extra chances from Winters.

And then in the seventh...  Strike 3 to Ethier was in the Strike-Zone and Winters got it right, but it was on the edge and added to the Dodgers frustration with him since Bolsinger was not getting calls in the same location:

Here is "ball" 4 to Carpenter - the pitch that finally put A.J. over the edge:
Notice the location of this "ball" compared to "strike" 3 to Ethier above. A.J. would get tossed by Winters for "arguing balls and strikes". According to A.J. in a post-game interview, Winters told him his "presentation was lacking," essentially saying that he wasn't framing properly. A.J.'s ability (or lack thereof) to frame pitches aside, it is Winters job to judge if a pitch crossed the plate in the strike-zone and call it accordingly, NOT if the catcher did a good job or not. Framing is a talent to sway the umpire's perception of location, not a skill to be judged.

Mike Winters called a very bad game and although the Game Score's would indicate a game that favored the Dodgers, the pitches that he missed came in more crucial situations and ended up having a direct impact on a run scored by the Cardinals (Girchuk's RBI double). His comments to A.J. about his "presentation" show a fundamental flaw in his thinking of what his job is exactly. I have a big problem with THAT more-so than his horrible performance behind the plate.

Close Calls & Reviews:

In the seventh inning the Dodgers challenged a safe call at second from umpire Marty Foster after Kolton Wong stole second. It was a very close play, and Wong seemed to have possibly come off the bag during the slide. The Dodgers have been aggressive with their challenges lately, and the results have been a lot of challenges being overruled, or upheld. This was another situation where I didn't really have a problem with the use of a challenge, or can really complain about the ultimate decision. There just wasn't enough there to overturn the call.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Umpires for the St. Louis Series

Umpiring the three games in St. Louis this weekend will be:

Friday: Mike Winters
Saturday: Mark Wegner*
Sunday: Marty Foster*

This crew last worked the Rockies series a few weeks ago. Tonight's HP umpire Mike Winters was behind the dish on May 15th when Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers beat the Rockies at home, 6-4. His calls of balls and strikes did not favor the Dodgers (Standard and Adjusted Game Scores of -2), but despite a blow up in the seventh inning in which Kershaw gave up two singles and a walk  - and Paco couldn't' help him out - resulting in four runs, the Dodgers won 6-4.

Bolsinger's great game last last weekend benefitted from a few strike calls high in the strike-zone. Mike Winters has a fairly standard strike-zone with a tendency to call low strikes. Kershaw did receive two high strikes in that game so we will see how Bolsinger attacks hitters.

Here are Mike Winter's Scores from May 15th:

Standard Strike-Zone
Dodgers v. LHH (DLSZ): +1
Dodgers v. RHH (DRSZ): +2

Rockies v. LHH (OLSZ): +5
Rockies v. RHH (ORSZ): 0

Adjusted Strike-Zone
Dodgers v. LHH (DLAZ): -1
Dodgers v. RHH (DRAZ): -2

Rockies v. LHH (OLAZ): -1
Rockies v. RHH (ORAZ): 0


Standard Strike-Zone Game Score: -2
Adjusted Strike-Zone Game Score: -2 

As you can see, it was an average performance from Winters, and I expect the same tonight.

* Assuming the regular rotation occurs. (3B->2B->1B->HP)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Braves at Dodgers, 5/27/2015

**To learn about "Zone Score" & "Game Score", please see this post.**


HP Paul Nauert
1B Ed Hickox
2B Mike Estabrook
3B Dana DeMuth


Dodgers: Greinke, Garcia, Hatcher, Liberatore, Nicasio
Padres: Wood, Johnson, Grilli

Zone Score & Game Score for Paul Nauert

Standard Strike-Zone
Dodgers v. LHH (DLSZ): +5
Dodgers v. RHH (DRSZ): 0

Braves v. LHH (OLSZ): +1
Braves v. RHH (ORSZ): +3

Adjusted Strike-Zone
Dodgers v. LHH (DLAZ): -5
Dodgers v. RHH (DRAZ): -3

Braves v. LHH (OLAZ): -3
Braves v. RHH (ORAZ): -2


Standard Strike-Zone Game Score: +1
Adjusted Strike-Zone Game Score: -3


Paul Nauert had arguably one of the worst performances calling balls and strikes that this young blog has seen. I am sure there will be worse to come, but Nauert and his strike-zone were confounding tonight, capping off a series of pretty bad umpiring. Nauert's struggles aren't necessarily reflected in his Zone Scores or Game Scores as those are meant to show one team benefitting from an unbalanced number of gifts and/or misses, but the fact that there was a 10 point swing between his DLSZ and DLAZ scores indicate a huge problem. What is that problem exactly? Considering the difference in those two categories is the outside corner to left handed hitters, it means that he gave Dodger pitchers 5 strikes in that area, but did not give them five (actually 7 or 8) in the same area. It is a prime indicator of inconsistency. Here is a snapshot of the outside corner to LHH (pitches from Dodger pitching are square plots):

To be clear, Nauert was bad all around, not just for the Dodgers. The first indicator of fun to come was called strike 2 to new Brave Juan Uribe in the first inning:

In the bottom of the inning, Nauert called a low strike 3 to erase Howie Kendrick. The pitch was technically a strike, but a player's reaction is always a good indicator of what they expect and what they tend to  accept. A quiet guy like Kendrick having this reaction is telling. Here is the pitch and his reaction:

Nauert missed this strike from Wood to Heisey in the second:

... and called this a strike (pitch 1) to Rollins in the fourth:

This pitch was called a strike to Hernandez in the seventh:

...but a pitch in the very same location (technically higher) from Greinke to Wood in the fifth was not:

Should the difference in batter height be a factor? Hernandez is 5'11'' and Wood is 6'4''. Yes - if Nauert is consistent with other batters and adjusts his zone vertically throughout.

Todd Cunningham is an inch taller than Hernandez, but received the benefit of a ball on this pitch:

Notice that they are in identical spots vertically. Here is the raw data from gameday:

Hernandez : pz="1.543"
Cunningham: pz="1.547"

These numbers indicate the height from the ground at which the ball crossed the front of the plate. The pitch to Cunningham was higher but called a ball.

Yes, I know this is nitpicking, but Nauert was really, really inconsistent all night.

I think this call, on a pitch from Grilli to Callaspo that should've ended the game, sums up Nauert's performance behind the plate tonight:

How Do You Call That A Ball!? If I were a Braves fan I would've punched through my TV at that point. That AB had a LI of 3.25. Needless to say it was an important part of the game and Nauert blew it... for the Braves. Ultimately it would not matter.

The last thing I want to do with this blog is attack umpires. It is a ridiculously difficult job and these guys are without a doubt the best in the world at what they do. But I also reserve the right to highlight when they might not have been up to par.

Paul Nauert I'm sure is a great guy, but tonight he wasn't very good at calling the game between the Braves and Dodgers. I am sure after reviewing the data even he would agree.

Close Calls & Reviews:

In the fifth inning the Braves challenged a call at first base after Dana DeMuth ruled that Freddie Freeman had come off the bag while catching a throw from Uribe on a Greinke chopper. The call was upheld. Ultimately the play would have no effect on the outcome of the game. Here is the angle that best shows Freeman was indeed off the bag: