Laz Diaz Makes The Best Umpire Call of All Time
In the first inning of the Cubs-Astros game today, Anthony Rizzo struck out on two fastballs from J.A. Happ on the corner that I’ll bet he was muttering about on the way back to the dugout…”that was the same @#$@#$@#$ pitch!”
Well, not quite. They were both almost exactly the same height. According to pitch f/x, one of them was 2.021 feet above the ground, and the other 2.098 (one inch apart) both above the bottom of Rizzo’s strike zone. But the first pitch was -0.835 feet outside, and the second -0.815. In other words, the first pitch was 10.02 inches outside, and the zone is 10 inches (from the centre of the plate to the centre of the ball), so it was 1/50th of an inch off the plate. Laz Diaz correctly identified it as a ball. The next was in almost the exact same location but 9.78 inches outside — more than a fifth of an inch over the plate. Laz correctly rung Rizzo up.
I know even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes, but credit where credit is due and that is a pretty unbelievable sequence when you think about how fine an adjustment that is for the pitcher to make and the umpire to identify, even if one or both of them got lucky.
Incidentally, the Jays should really stop showing up the umps. Encarnacion threw up his hands in the air in disbelief on a high curve that was pretty much right down the middle of the plate, at the belt today. Arencibia was giving the ump a lecture on a high curve that was high, yeah, but also a strike. Lawrie was out last night (and Zaun showed his disgust back in the booth, it was awesome) and he made the safe sign and said “I was safe” 67 times in 14 seconds. I know it must be hard sometimes, but it really doesn’t help…