Let’s just call this whole game E-UH, for “Error-Umpire, Home plate”.
Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s the lamest of all lame things to whine about the umpiring of a game. This time, it just seemed exceptionally infuriating – with all the objectionable calls being made by one man - home plate umpire Angel Hernandez.
You’ve got the weird low strike zone that did hold for both Tigers and Reds pitchers, for the most part. I do think that it disadvantaged the Reds a little more, as Homer Bailey clearly had a lot better control than Drew Smyly, you know, when Smyly was in the game. Still, that wouldn’t bother me that much – weird strike zones are part of the game, and the low strike lasted for pretty much the whole game.
But when Ludwick wasn’t happy with that strike zone in the second inning, Hernandez called a very, very obvious ball a called strike on Ludwick as what you have to imagine is some kind of punishment,which seems to be going overboard. And after that, you could tell that a lot of the Reds batters had to work really hard to protect well below your average strike zone.
Also, don’t forget the Devin Mesoraco interference call, in which Devin Mesoraco’s existence interfered with Gerald Laird’s ability to throw to second competently. I mean, I couldn’t see exactly where Mesoraco was in relation to the batter’s box, and it was certainly a borderline call – but it seemed like all of Angel Hernandez’s borderline calls went a certain way in this game.
Then there was the Matt Young HBP, which NEVER TOUCHED HIM. Look, ESPN showed the slo-mo, they got a great angle on it – and the pitch never touched a single piece of Matt Young or his jersey. I mean, the Quintin Berry HBP hit his jersey, which is a little lame, but them’s the rules. But no pitch ever even came all that close to hitting Matt Young or his jersey, and that was the inning that all the damage was done.
I’ll admit that it’s certainly not all Angel Hernandez’s fault that we lost. There was a certain amount of sucking – like,
- our bullpen, and
- Devin Mesoraco’s catching skills, and
- Dusty’s bullpen’s management, and
- opportunities to score that we didn’t capitalize on.
There was also some bad luck when it came to balls in play, and I can admit that there were other close calls accurately made that went against the Reds tonight – like a caught stealing at second, and Devin Mesoraco not actually tagging the guy at home. (Seriously, it looked like it could have been a tag on like, 5 out of 6 camera angles, but in the sixth angle… you can totally tell he didn’t get him.)
But you know, I’m feeling irrational right now, and irrationally, this loss falls squarely on the shoulders on Angel Hernandez, who is part of an enormous conspiracy to bring the Reds down and keep Joey Votto from getting the worship and adoration that he obviously deserves.
Maybe I’ll try to be less ridiculous tomorrow.