I was too busy to blog about the Rays extra-innings win over the much-hated New York Yankees last night.
I watched just a little bit of the game tonight. It seemed like Rays pitcher J. P. Howell wasn't getting much benefit of the doubt on the ball and strike calls. I decided to use MLB GameDay for the semi-forbidden purpose of graphically verifying my impression. Here's the at-bat of Doug Mientkiewicz in the key fifth inning (Mientkiewicz led off with a weak single and later scored the third run of the game, starting off a big inning for the Yankees):
I noted a number of weeks ago that MLB removed the strike zone from the graphic, but it's very easy to see that pitches 1 and 3 were well within the strike zone.
I've heard it mentioned that Yankees hitters get favorable treatment at the plate; the team exhibits terrific patience while at bat and one wonders whether that patience causes the supposed favorable treatment or vice-versa.
This at-bat provides a small piece of evidence supporting a tiny strike zone for Yankees hitters. Allow me to admit that I have no idea whether or not Yankees starter Paul Wang had his pitches called the same way. I'm willing to forgive inconsistency from umpire to umpire if each ump calls it about the same for both teams.