The Adverse Affects of an OVER Umpire
Gerry Davis and Mark Buehrle
Mark Buehrle is a southpaw pitcher for the The White Sox. In many ways, this is your next Jamie Moyer in the making. He's a guy that has to have his "edges" and if they get taken away his pitches become VERY hittable. He no longer has any real power, and his "movement" is his only true weapon.
So this is a pitcher that DEPENDS on an UNDER or NEUTRAL Umpire in order to pitch well.
We can illustrate the dawn of Buehrle's troubles with the advent of Quest-Tec. We know he was having trouble with small zones before the advent of baseball's "strike zone tracking hardware", but we finally got a chance to hear him vocally complain about his need for a big zone in 2006. This is when they asked him why he was having elevated pitch counts and shortened innings:
"I think it's called Quest-Tec," Mark said. "You see finesse pitchers struggling around baseball without getting the corners. I'm the most finesse guy on this team. I need my corners and those close calls. With that Quest-Tec, it's no good!"
Guys like Buehrle, Garland, and Contreras (to a small degree) are all guys that need the corners to one extent or another, and this is why many of us felt that the White Sox may have struggled in 2006. They didn't have Quest-Tec in their stadium during their championship run on 2005, but when it was installed in 2006 their pitching hit a brick wall.
It may sound crazy, but it was definitely an excuse used by Buehrle at the time.
*Now that you know that Mark hates it when his "edges" get taken away, lets see what happens when he faces one of the biggest OVER UMPIRES in the league.
To save time, I'll just tell you that Gerry Davis is the most standard OVER UMPS in the league. 66% of ALL 2007 Games went OVER the posted total with Jerry calling the balls and strikes, so you can trust me. This guy was pretty close to walking 8 and striking out only 12 per game last year.
He could have gone WAAAY over that total but he "squeezed" his last 3 innings in many games just to get under 300 pitches per game! Here's what he looked like in an inning by inning breakdown last year:
Innings 1,2 and 3: 4.26 Runs Allowed
Innings 4,5 and 6: 4.46 Runs Allowed
Innings 7,8 and 9: 2.94 Runs Allowed
See that precipitous drop-off in Runs for the later inings? We can discuss the "The King Maker Umpire Squeeze Rule" in another Blog entry.
Let's get back on topic:
If you think Mark Buehrle hates Quest-Tec, then you wouldn't want to hear what he might say about Gerry Davis. Mr. Davis called a Buehrle game, against Cleveland, this year. You know the Cleveland Indians right? The team that isn't hitting very well this year?
The final in that game was 8-10 and Mark got completely shelled. He couldn't get through the second inning, and he left the game with a plump 38.00 ERA. You can tell that he knew who the umpire was. He only walked one batter, because he apparently knew that Davis was calling balls and strikes. He threw 30 "strike zone" pitches out of a total of 48! He had to throw into the meat of the zone. Gerry wont give certain "edges". This should have been on our radar for a 1st 5 inning OVER. The odds of him doing well was minimal.
|Chicago White Sox|
The funny thing about all this is that Masset and Logan (Sox relievers) came in and pitched 5.1 innings of 2 hit ball with 6 strikeouts and 0 walks, and Sabathia on the other side struck out 11 batters!
So Gerry Davis wasn't an OVER UMP for Sabathia, Logan, or Masset was he? Remember this article, because I will refer back to it in a few days.
But let's return Mark Buehrle to all star status, because in his next game he destroyed the Tigers. His new Umpire was Jeff Kellogg, a NEUTRAL-UNDER Umpire that gave Buerhle his "edges". The Sox beat Verlander 13-2 in that game! Buehrle was a pitching GOD!!!!!!!!
|Chicago White Sox|
|M Buehrle (W, 1-0)
Funny thing, isn't it?
Just 6 days after lasting 1.2 innings VS the Indians, he goes into Detroit and shuts them down!
Is an Umpire that important to Mark Buehrle? You be the judge.
I believe he pitches this Friday against the Angels.