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Home plate umpire Ron Kulpa made an absurdly bad strike call against Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Wander Franco to give the Red Sox a break early in Game 4.
The MLB playoffs should be all about the best teams in the league battling for their postseason lives.
Too often, games in the playoffs become about the same things that mar too many regular-season games: Terrible umpire performances.
During Game 4 of the ALDS between Boston and Tampa Bay, home plate umpire Ron Kulpa gave his submission for the worst strike call of the season.
Seriously?? 😯 pic.twitter.com/e57UsMipRz
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 11, 2021
The pitching chart for the first inning Wander Franco at-bat is so bad it’s almost funny.
A longer video showed the Rays shortstop’s harsh reaction to the call. He wasn’t happy about it.
Wander Franco struck out thanks to Ron Kulpa’s terrible call
That wasn’t even the only call Franco had go against him early in the game. The umpires called a runner safe on a throw he made to first base. Fortunately, replay review was able to get that one right in the end.
Replay can step in to make up for a questionable call at first, but there is no reprieve for a strikeout based on the tallest strike zone possible.
The problem is leaning on home plate umpires who haven’t done a good job all year with assignments during the biggest games. According to Codify, Inc., “79 umpires worked the plate in at least 20 regular season games this season and only one had a lower accuracy rate than this umpire (and just barely).”
You get out what you put in, MLB.