We’ve seen umpires mess up this season — and past seasons — but what happened Friday night was truly bad.
Royals reliever Josh Staumont came in during the top of the seventh inning to pitch in Friday night’s Royals-Twins game. He faced Twins batter Ryan Jeffers, and worked him into a 1-2 count. He then threw a 100 mph pitch down the middle of the plate: an obvious strike. And yet umpire Jeremie Rehak was motionless.
No strike call.
After the call, Staumont could be seen asking the umpire why it wasn’t a strike. He appeared to gesture his hand upwards, essentially asking if the pitch was too high. Rehak then nodded that yes, he felt the pitch was too high.
While it seemed obvious the pitch should have counted as a ball from watching it on video, let’s just see where the ball landed on MLB.com and Baseball Savant. Both websites keep track of where pitches land, making it easy to determine whether an umpire blew a call.
Interestingly, MLB.com’s strike zone (on the right) does appear higher than what Baseball Savant and the television broadcast had. But even still, the circle is fully within the strike zone in both cases.
Staumont didn’t let the bad call affect him too much — he bounced back and recorded a strikeout with his pitch appearance. He finished the inning with no hits allowed and two strikeouts, helping the Royals secure a 7-2 win over Minnesota.
That said, the demand for robot umpires will continue to grow if the real-life umpires keep messing up calls this poorly.
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