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FanGraphs: D-backs’ Mathis took the worst strike call so far in 2017

Video clips via FanGraphs

At the midpoint of the MLB season, we tend to look back at the best, worst and ugliest moments so far.

Count the Arizona Diamondbacks involved in one of the ugliest.

On April 8, Cleveland pitcher Trevor Bauer’s very, very outside pitch to D-backs catcher Jeff Mathis in the second inning earned a strike call from umpire Angel Hernandez. FanGraph’s Jeff Sullivan called the single pitch the worst strike call of the first half of the season.

Here is where the pitch ended up with the strike zone overlay showing on the TV broadcast.


Sullivan estimates it to be 9 inches off the plate, which is a relatively long distance for such things.

Here’s how our radio fellows Greg Schulte and Tom Candiotti called it:

Schulte: Mathis has got a pretty good idea of the strike zone because he’s catching for the Diamondbacks. He thought that was outside.

Candiotti: That was a cutter and it was way off the plate.

Schulte: Oh my goodness.

Candiotti: I mean that’s eight, nine inches off the plate.

Schulte: Oh my goodness. That wasn’t close! That might’ve hit a left-handed hitter in the other part of the batter’s box.

And then there was FOX Sports Arizona’s Bob Brenly and Steve Berthiaume with a more concise analysis:

Brenly: “Oh, no, no, no, no, no.”

Berthuime: “Good lord.”

Anyhow, Mathis continued to see the strike zone more accurately than Hernandez yet eventually struck out looking at all six pitches. He threw his bat thinking he’d walked after the third strike, which was borderline as it is.

But the best clip out of this was of manager Torey Lovullo’s reaction. Seems he’s holding his tongue following Mathis’ strikeout.

Let’s let Sullivan wrap this with his thoughts:

What do you do? Hitters know they can’t argue without getting ejected. They just have to take it. They have to take whatever the umpire says, which puts a lot of faith in the decision-making of other people who aren’t on your side. They act on nobody’s side, but, justice comes slowly, if it ever comes at all. Jeff Mathis took a 3-and-1 pitch nine inches outside, doing absolutely everything right, and then he didn’t get his base. Within moments, he had to go back to catching. Catching, just a couple feet in front of the guy who’d wronged him. Sometimes baseball puts the wrong people in their place.

We’d cry for computers to call balls and strikes, but then we couldn’t blame ol’ Blue for making our team lose.

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