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Bill Roper's Journal
Mike Winters Is a Terrible Umpire 
12th-Oct-2015 10:32 pm
Let me start by saying that the Cubs played a good game.

Now, I have been going to Cardinals games since 1964, but I have never attended a Cardinals playoff game. And since they were playing the Cubs and I was able to get playoff tickets due to having had Cubs season tickets for over 20 years, it seemed like the time to do so. :)

If only Mike Winters, the home plate umpire, had not decided that the lower third of the strike zone was the sole possession of the Cubs pitchers. A Cardinals pitcher might throw the ball there, but it would not be called a strike. And since the wind was blowing out, down was where you wanted the ball to be.

But instead, the Cardinals were forced to throw the ball up, because Mike Winters was not only unable to call anything resembling the rule book strike zone for the Cardinals, but he also happily called a much more normal strike zone for the Cubs pitchers.

The results were about what you would expect, as the Cubs set a record with six home runs and won the game 8-6.

It is possible to win a game when you are the victim of an umpire like Mike Winters. But you have to be a much, much better team than your opponent to do so. And as banged up as they are, the Cards can't manage that.

I understand that this will sound somewhat like sour grapes. But if you're interested, here's the strike zone plot for the game.


(Note that the Cardinals were given some outside strikes up in the zone. That is, however, not where you want to be throwing the ball, because if you miss "up", the ball has a nasty tendency to leave the ballpark. *sigh*)
13th-Oct-2015 04:56 am (UTC)
So, do you think it's time to have the people with the electronics calling the balls and strikes, rather than the human standing there?
13th-Oct-2015 04:59 am (UTC)
I would hate to see that from a traditionalist point of view, but I would like to see the strike zone be consistent for both teams. This one wasn't close.
13th-Oct-2015 01:51 pm (UTC)
The Cards were given a lot of strikes low and outside as well, particularly against right handers. During the game I noticed a lot of called strikes showing low and outside the zone projected by the broadcast.

Interestingly the display of the zone became very intermittent as the game went on...
13th-Oct-2015 03:00 pm (UTC)
Actually, the Cardinals were (intermittently; it wasn't reliable) given strikes that were outside and belt-high. The problem with those is that, should you miss your location, the ball leaves the park in a big hurry. Which is pretty much what happened. It's easy to see on the plot that I linked.

What the plot doesn't show is just how badly Wacha was victimized in the first few innings, because all of the strikes get piled up for the whole game. The reason Wacha couldn't find the zone was because the zone didn't get called on about six different pitches during that time.

But there's nothing to be done about it.

Although I felt like I was watching the NBA...
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