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:

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