The same officiating crew that did the games in Texas came to L.A. to work these next two games. They kept the same rotation so Chad Fairchild was behind the dish last night. Also the same as the games in Texas was the pitchf/x system taking a dump... as I am sure any of you that followed the game on MLB's At-Bat app noticed. For 4 innings there was no data being reported. Once again, until I can make sure, I am going to put an asterisk next to these scores. Nevertheless, Fairchild had a relatively consistent performance that slightly favored the Rangers in the end. The main issue was the -2 Adjusted Game Score and his zone to RH hitters. For the Dodgers, Fairchild missed these calls: Ball 2 to Corporan in the second inning (1-0 count, 1 out, runner at 1B, LI 1.08): For those keeping track of Ellis' framing ability shortcomings, save this one...
Ball 1 to Smolinski in the eighth inning (0-0 count, 0 outs, nobody on, LI 0.80): Also quite certainly an issue on the receiving of the pitch.
The reason that is a big miss is because Fairchild gave this gift to Wandy earlier in the game in the same region. Strike 1 to Kendrick in the first inning (2-0 count, 1 out, runners at 1B & 2B, LI 2.00)
Another example of his inconsistency were two pitches two Joey Gallo. Ball 3 to Gallo in the first inning (2-2 count, 2 outs, nobody on, 0.39 LI)
Strike 2 to Gallo in the eighth inning (0-1 count, 2 outs, runners at 1B & 2B, LI 1.21)
The difference of course is curveball vs. fastball, but based on Gallo being 6'5'' the pitch from Kershaw should have probably been a strike. It did not however count as a miss. Overall an OK performance from Fairchild. The biggest issue with the umpiring last night was the balk call...
Close Calls & Reviews:
There were no challenges or reviews during the game. In the fourth inning, with nobody out, Kershaw picked Adam Rosales off first base. Rosales was actually trying to steal and was going on first movement from Kershaw. Marvin Hudson called a balk on Kershaw, the issue being that Clayton had apparently started movement towards the plate, making his throw to first a balk.
This is one of the most frustrating things with the balk rules in Major League Baseball. First of all, the rule states that the pitcher must step towards the base he is throwing to. An unwritten rule has always been that the pitcher gets around a 45 degree grace in his stride, essentially meaning that he must step more towards first than the plate. MLB even at one time played around with adding a chalk line on the mound at 45 degrees to help, but never incorporated it officially.
Here is a rough guess-timation to illustrate what the 45 degree guideline looks like.
The problem with the rule as written is that it is completely arbitrary and left to the umpire's discretion to rule on. From this angle from the Texas broadcast, you can certainly make the case that Kershaw had started his movement towards the plate.
My issue is that (A) Rosales was going on first movement so in no way did Kershaws angle of stride have anything to do with 'deceiving' him, and (B) this call would probably not be called by most umpires. I know that point (A) is arguing semantics, but I am biased.. what can I say. Point (B) is underlining the fact that Marvin Hudson is one of those Umpires that likes to show off and will jump at any chance to show everyone that he knows the rules. As I tweeted (@dodgerblureview) last night, Marvin Hudson ejected Bryce Harper a month ago because he didn't get in the batter's box fast enough.
Lucky for us Hudson is behind the plate tonight. Let's see if he proves me right.