The Los Angeles Angels and Oakland A’s were tied 4-4 in the 10th inning on Sunday, when home plate umpire Jim Reynolds decided to create a brand-new strike zone.
The Angels had a runner on second base (thanks to the new extra-inning rule) with no outs, and A’s reliever Liam Hendriks delivered a very obvious strike. However, it was not so obvious to Reynolds, and he ruled the pitch a ball.
This was called a ball 🤔 pic.twitter.com/GhMebCPYqX
— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) August 23, 2020
Oh, but Reynolds wasn’t done. On the very next pitch, Reynolds once again called a ball on a pitch that was clearly in the strike zone.
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 24, 2020
— Graduate Baseball Studies (@GradBaseball) August 23, 2020
Fortunately for the A’s, Hendriks worked around the unacceptable missed strikes and got out of the inning unscathed. And they won in the bottom of the 10th on a sacrifice fly from Mark Canha.
— Oakland A's (@Athletics) August 23, 2020
While Reynolds’ calls were absolutely horrible, that’s sadly been a very normal theme around the league so far this season. Check out this 100-mph fastball down the middle from the Kansas City Royals’ Josh Staumont that was called a ball earlier this week by umpire Jeremie Rehak.
Josh Staumont, 100mph Fastball…
FOR A BALL. 🤬🤖 pic.twitter.com/G4QAn38vRx
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 22, 2020
And this clear walk drawn by the Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto that umpire Jansen Visconti decided was instead strike three.
— Umpire Auditor (@UmpireAuditor) August 12, 2020
And this sinker — that was nearly in the dirt — from San Diego Padres pitcher Zach Davies that was called a strike by umpire Lance Barrett.
Umpire Lance Barrett is now the league leader for the biggest miss of the season!
— Umpire Auditor (@UmpireAuditor) August 13, 2020
Sometimes these inexcusable calls don’t end up meaning much, but they can absolutely alter games (and even just going from a pitcher’s count to a hitter’s count, and vice versa, can have a huge impact on an at-bat). It’s why automated strike zones are coming- it’s just a matter of when.