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Game #103 Preview: 8/2, Arizona Diamondbacks @ Houston Astros

Can Arizona take the series in Houston? They'll probably need more help from the men in blue than they got yesterday...

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Robbie Ray
LHP, 3-5, 2.70
Collin McHugh
RHP, 12-5, 4.43
Ender Inciarte - CF Jose Altuve - 2B
Yasmany Tomas - RF Carlos Gomez - CF
Paul Goldschmidt - DH Carlos Correa - SS
David Peralta - LF Evan Gattis - LF
Welington Castillo - C Jed Lowrie - 3B
Jake Lamb - 1B Marwin Gonzalez - 1B
Aaron Hill - 3B Chris Carter - DH
Cliff Pennington - 2B Jason Castro - C
Nick Ahmed - SS Jake Marisnick - RF

I didn't exactly have high hopes for yesterday's game, considering we were going up against the opposition ace, with a line-up which seemed very much like a B-line up, selected on the basis purely of in which hand they held the bat. There was a brief window of opportunity in the early innings, when Keuchel had no control, but a failuire to get a clutch hit, combined with some extraordinarily bad calling of strikes by the dreaded CB Bucknor, doomed us. Despite his reputation, Bucknor actually sits about the middle of the pack in terms of correct calling of balls and strikes, with about an 87% correct rate, which seems around average.

I'm not sure if that's good or bad. On the one hand, you're trying to identify, in a fraction of a second, the spot at which a relatively small object, typically traveling at 90 mph or faster with movement, will cross a notional plane coming up from a five-sided plate in the ground. On the other, you could close you eyes, yell "ball!" and "strike!" randomly, and still be correct 50% of the time. Eliminate the "obvious" calls and I suspect most laymen could easily get up into the 70th percentile of correctness. That's a lot closer to the "professionals" level of performance, than we could manage at either hitting or pitching.

The same site also has the "worst call of the day", where they name and shame the biggest blunter by the home-plate umpire. Some of those are quite startling, to the point that I'm not sure I believe them. For example, "July 23, 2015, Chris Segal, San Diego Padres vs. Miami Marlins. With a 0-0 count in the top of the 2nd inning, umpire Chris Segal called a strike on a pitch that missed the strike zone by 35.35 inches." Whaaaaat? How is that even possible - unless he was actually doing that "closing the eyes" thing mentioned earlier. If true, the case for robo-umpires is even stronger than previously considered....