It has not been a great year for Major League Baseball umpires with several blown calls and egregious mistakes making headlines this year. And things only got worse on Monday night, when home plate umpire Laz Diaz made an egregious mistake in the ninth inning in a vitally important moment.
At the top of the ninth inning of a tie game between the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners, Angels reliever Aaron Loup was pitching to Mariners first baseman Carlos Santana. The at-bat results in a walk for Santana on five pitches. It seems normal at first – until you realize that Diaz only called three balls in the at-bat.
Earlier in the month we saw a hitter get four strikes.
Now presenting, a walk on three balls pic.twitter.com/WT2HQF8Dk8
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) August 16, 2022
As seen in the video, Loup throws a ball with the first pitch, then throws back-to-back called strikes to bring the count to 1-2. He then throws a ball in the dirt to bring the count to 2-2. Then, for some reason, the umpire announces the call as 3-1 instead, and nobody seems to notice.
Loup’s next pitch was a ball inside, and Santana took his base, even though Diaz had only called three balls in the at-bat.
This wasn’t an inconsequential at-bat, either. Santana’s walk allowed Seattle to keep its momentum, which ultimately led to a four-run inning in the ninth as the Mariners beat the Angels by a score of 6-2.
Shockingly, this isn’t even the first time this month that an umpire has decided an at-bat with the wrong count. Earlier this month, home plate umpire Jim Wolf accidentally gave a batter four strikes in an at-bat.
It’s certainly been a long year for MLB umpires. And gaffes like this won’t help their case as fans call for robot umpires.