The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Francisco Giants 4-2 on Saturday. It appeared as though the Dodgers would cruise to victory as they led 4-0 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. But the Giants rallied, scoring two runs and bringing up Austin Slater, who already had two hits on the day, to the plate as the go-ahead run with the tying run on base. Then, things got controversial.
David Price was on the mound for Los Angeles and got the count to 2-2 against Slater. The 2-2 pitch from the left-handed Price had a lot of movement and ended up inside to the right-handed hitting Slater. Home plate umpire Ramon DeJesus rang Slater up, ending the game, giving the Dodgers the 4-2 win over the Giants.
Austin Slater was not pleased with this called third strike to end the game pic.twitter.com/cZDuQF9B8w
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) July 24, 2022
There are two ways of looking at this play. One is that while it sure looks like the pitch should have been called a ball, it was far too close for Slater to look at with two strikes. Protecting the plate has kind of gone the way of the dinosaur in the current era, where strikeouts from hitters are more accepted. But with two strikes and the game on the line, you can’t rely on the umpire to call a close pitch correctly.
Of course, there’s another way of looking at it. That while Slater probably should have tried to fight the pitch off, it was inside. The fact that Slater should have swung doesn’t make the call any more correct.
The MLB world was critical of the call on the game’s final pitch.
That wasn’t a strike. https://t.co/AzXb9I9Pgj
— 𝙹𝚘𝚑𝚗 𝙵𝚛𝚊𝚗𝚌𝚑𝚒 (@JFRANCHIREPORTS) July 24, 2022
That’s tuff https://t.co/dtMvDDGz8L
— Thay (@Thvvy) July 24, 2022
— Evan Webeck (@EvanWebeck) July 24, 2022
Make no mistake, we’ve seen worse calls from MLB umpires this year. While it may not have crossed the plate in the strike zone, it moved through it. Price’s pitch had a lot of movement on it and was at 94 mph. That was not an easy call for DeJesus.
But while that’s a defense of DeJesus, it’s also a reason to advocate for robot umpires moving forward. Pitchers simply throw too hard and with too much movement to rely on umpires to call pitches on the corners correctly. The Fact that DeJesus was consistently calling strikes on the inside corner throughout the game only furthers that point.
[Fox Sports: MLB on Twitter]