I couldn’t watch the Cardinals beat the Cubs in Game 1, but I did listen to the Cubs’ radio broadcast, featuring analyst Ron Coomer.
In the seventh or eighth inning, Coomer said something like this (and I’m paraphrasing because this is from memory):
Phil Cuzzi’s a really good umpire and a great guy. But tonight he’s just missing a lot of calls around the zone. He’s missing a lot, and most of them when the Cubs are batting.
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As you know, usually when a guy says something like this, it’s the product of (largely) subconcious bias. But I didn’t want to assume anything, so afterward I checked BrooksBaseball.
Turns out Coomer was probably right.
If you look at the graphs — and it’s always good remember that these are two-dimensional plots, while the strike zone is three-dimensional — it sure does look like the Cubs took some pitches in the shorts.
I simply count the red squares and triangles, denoting called strikes, completely outside the strike-zone rectangle: squares for St. Louis pitchers, triangles for Chicago pitchers.
Well, there are 11 squares and only 3 triangles, and eight "extra" called strikes can make a big difference in a baseball game.
I certainly won’t suggest that the difference in called strikes was the difference in the four-run game. I just want to give Coomer some credit for being right about this one, however biased he might (subconsciously) be.