Sabathia Had Tough Night Thanks to Skewed Strike Zone

Via Ian O’Conner of ESPN New York:

(CC Sabathia‘s) long, frustrating journey started with three walks and 27 pitches in the first. At the end of that inning, Sabathia approached Davis and asked, “How far am I missing?”

The ump put his thumb and index finger an inch apart and said, “By that much.”

Sabathia kept trying in vain to close that distance; he threw 63 pitches in three innings. When he was pulled in the sixth, Sabathia had delivered 106 pitches and surrendered four runs, seven hits and five unintentional walks.

“I actually thought he made a lot of good pitches tonight,” Girardi maintained at the start of his postgame news conference, “and I thought the zone was a small zone tonight. ‚Ķ You throw some borderline pitches and you don’t get them, it makes the innings tougher.”

Here is last night’s strike zone via Brooks Baseball. The triangles are the pitches thrown by Yankees pitchers. Red means a strike while green is a ball.

Umpire Gerry Davis clearly had trouble calling the proper strike zone on the left side of the plate, but gave some extra on the other. While this is clearly not optimal, at least it was consistent.

By my count there are about 18 pitches that should have been called strikes last night, but were not and it seems to be split fairly evenly for both teams. So while it seems that CC certainly got the squeeze on the left side of the plate, so did Justin Verlander.

The problem comes in when you consider that the Yankees had six left handed hitters in their lineup while the Tigers only had one. So CC is working left handed trying to pitch to mostly righties and this umpires has completely taken away the outside of the plate from him. Conversely Verlander faced mostly lefties and had an extra couple inches to work inside.

Without making too many excuses it seems as if CC was at a tremendous disadvantage last night. But hey, that’s the human element for you.

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5 Responses to Sabathia Had Tough Night Thanks to Skewed Strike Zone

  1. Sammy says:

    It looked to me like Verlander got many strike calls on pitches that were clearly too high and/or outside. Yes that is the human element in baseball however; these umpires believe that they can do no wrong, there isn't an answer to bad umpiring I suppose you just have to live with it or, die with it and go home.

  2. David K. says:

    Not the first time that a team got screwed playing on the road. Often, you see an umpire call a game slightly in favor of the home team. I think it was a lot more than slightly this time, though.

  3. RoyalsFan says:

    Now Sabathia knows what its like to be a smaller market pitcher pitching against the yankees at yankee stadium. I wish my Royals pitchers got the same strikezone as Yankee/RedSox/Phillies pitchers got.

  4. ryan says:

    Watching the game, it seemed the team that was ahead got squeezed. Except when Detroit was ahead which wasn't until the end of the game. When they were tied, the strike zone seemed normal. Also, if you use the strike zone they had on tv, the results were different than he Brooks Baseball data. MLB trying to justify itself in keeping games close.