Via this morning’s Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, we have this report of the Cardinals hitters, who struck out ten times last night.
Cardinals hitting coach Mark McGwire (who is certainly not in Washington to talk about the past) has taught his charges to be extremely disciplined, and force opposing pitchers throw fastballs, but apparently last night
… [t]hat philosophy failed to mesh with Thursday’s liberal strike zone, which appeared to be applied consistently to both sides.
“Sometimes there’s a tendency to do that,” Beltran said when asked about expanding his hitting zone. “If you see he’s calling some pitches off the plate, you do that. But you have to stay within yourself and try not to do that. If you do, you’re going to put yourself in a position where you swing at very bad pitches.”
Cardinals players were instructed to say nothing disparaging about Joyce’s strike zone, though several privately conceded that its parameters necessitated a modified approach. Of the Cardinals’ 10 strikeouts, three were called.
“We knew after a few innings that Jim had a pretty wide zone,” Freese said diplomatically. “You have to work with what you have. Both sides had to deal with it.”
Through the magic of the Texas Leaguers Pitch/FX Database, we can ask and answer the question: was Jim Joyce calling a wide strike zone?
Here’s how he called Ross Detwiler:
There are a number of pitches that would be away to a right-handed batter that fall outside the box. Strictly speaking, this is a wide zone, but it seems remarkably consistent. Was it consistent for the Cardinals stater Kyle Lohse?
Hey, would you look at that? Jim Joyce’s zone is a little wide and away to right-handed batters–and it is consistently wide and away to right handed batters, whoever is pitching. In this instance “crappy” umpiring, like crappy weather, plays for both teams.