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Echoes From 527: Umpire Problems

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Melky Cabrera will begin Monday’s 4 game set between the Atlanta Braves and Toronto Blue Jays with 498 career Strikeouts. It’s likely that Cabrera will reach the 500 K plateau while facing a few pitchers that he once called teammates.

Sure, 500 Strikeouts sounds like a lot but were talking about a span of just over 4000 MLB Plate Appearances… 4079 to be exact.

Over the course of 4079 PA’s, Cabrera has also drawn 298 Walks to complement a career total of 1058 Base Hits. Combine these totals, throw in some HBP’s and divide them by the same numbers while factoring in his Sacrifice Fly’s  and you will have his career On Base Percentage.

As of May 27th, Cabrera has amassed a career .338 On Base Percentage at the Major League level. Although respectable, this total, by many, is considered league average at best.

As for 2013, Cabrera is sitting on a .327 OBP, 63 points lower than his 2012 total of .390. To be fair, Toronto’s Left Fielder was on an absolute tear last season while playing with Giant’s and his inflated Batting Average undoubtedly effected the way opposing pitchers faced the then 27 year old Dominican Republic native.

There are a number of factors that can effect a players numbers in the Majors. Be it a new team, ball parks, leagues, reputation… All of these can play a role in determining how a player performs at the plate.

Now I pull the reputation card because after being caught having used steroids in 2012, Melky Cabrera has tarnished his. Without a doubt, Cabrera has tarnished his reputation with the fans, the players, the team and league executives as well as the men that call the balls and strikes behind the dish.

The Toronto Blue Jays have been at the mercy of some atrocious calls this season but few are worse than a pair of called 3rd strikes on Melky Cabrera.

Naturally, one will gravitate to the first incident between Cabrera and the Orioles RHP, Pedro Strop.

With runners on the corners and the Blue Jays down a Run in the 8th inning, Stop fired a Slider that ended up outside of the zone yet was called for strike 3 thus thwarting a much needed Blue Jays rally in Baltimore.

Would Toronto have tied or taken the lead if Brett Lawrie was given the opportunity to hit with the bases loaded? We will never know but it sure would have made things even more interesting than they turned out to be.

Flash forward a month and again we find the Blue Jays in the midst of yet another late inning rally. This time, it was coming at the hands of Rays closer, Fernando Rodney in the 9th.

With Colby Rasmus having just plated via a Wild Pitch and everybody’s hero: Munenori Kawasaki on 1st, Cabrera was at the plate looking to simply keep the line moving as the Blue Jays inched closer to tying the second game of a 3 game set with Tampa Bay.

Rodney attacked Cabrera with a trio of pitches that had absolutely zero business being called strikes. Again the Blue Jays fell victim to a series of poor calls that in turn, got Rodney out of the frame with the Save.

Now, I ask the question: Is it outlandish to think that Cabrera has received some relatively unfriendly calls based off the fact that perhaps the umpires could be taking justice into their own hands? Even after the 50 game suspension?

Well, a quick glance at the numbers would suggest otherwise as Cabrera is currently striking out (looking) a mere 19% of the time this season. His career average for the backwards K? 21%, so perhaps the men in black aren’t jobbing Toronto’s Left Fielder as often as it appears.

Or maybe they are and are simply picking their spots…. Perhaps I’m reading too far into this as a pair of bad calls has left my personal opinion on the matter jagged. Who knows.

What we do know is that the Blue Jays haven’t done themselves any favors in regards to how umpires view this club. Be it Jose’s comments earlier on in the season or Brett’s temper after striking out, it’s not entirely inconceivable to think that certain individuals may not be willing to give Toronto the close calls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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