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Diamondbacks UmpireWatch 2021: Week 2

Let’s see how the men in blue performed over the past week

New York Mets v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

If you missed last week’s installment and have no clue about this, you should probably go back and read it. It explains what we’re doing here, where the data comes from and what it means. All I will add here, is your regular exhortation to go and follow @UmpScorecards on Twitter, without whom this article would not be possible. We cover the period from April 7-13 in this edition, beginning with the second game in Colorado, through the series against Cincinnati and Oakland at Chase Field.

Even an umpire who was almost have a run in Arizona’s favor was unable to save the team here. Chris Conroy had a very consistent zone - though one which suggests he was watching the game while leaning drunkenly against a lamp-post at an angle. He was rather better at calling balls than strikes, with regard to the true strike-zone.

We have our first 100% score, with Pat Hoberg’s zone on the day being entirely consistent to what he established with the strike calls. No balls were called inside that zone. The same couldn’t quite be said for the accuracy of said area, which seems to have dropped a couple of inches, on both the top and bottom. Eduardo Escobar is probably fine with losing the high strike.

This was the one in which the Reds were robbed of a run by a chair in the pool area. I wonder if Edwin Moscoso’s definite bias towards them was a subliminal effort to correct it? For he favored Cincinnati by 1.21 runs, the biggest margin this year, and larger than their final margin of victory. Below, you’ll see the two pitches from Widener to Votto, with the bases load - both were called balls when they should have been strikes.

Back at Chase Field, we returned to the usual, low standard of umpiring we’ve seen, with Vanover scoring below average, for both accuracy and consistency. Generally, his calls favored the hitters on both sides - all his three worst calls should have been strikes, but were called balls. He was fractionally towards the Reds, but was more or less an equal opportunity offender.

Another sub-par performance here, especially on the accuracy front. Like Vanover, Marvin Hudson had trouble with recognizing strikes, though his most egregious call went the other way, giving Matt Peacock as “courtesy strike” in a 2-0 count, on a pitch well outside the zone. There were only 42 “true” strikes all game, and he still managed to blow five of them.

Finally, we get to this week’s biggest argument for #RobotUmpsNow. Look. At. That. Damn. Strikezone. It’s not a box, it’s some kind of cone. And look at the favor: 1.78 runs worth of calls went to Arizona, with Rackley giving both D-backs’ hitters and pitchers the benefit of his wisdom. In this case, thanks to MadBum and our bullpen, that wouldn’t have changed the result. But it’s still a startling less on the impact an umpire can have on a game.

From the worst in the week to the best, as James Hoye scored a 96% for accuracy in yesterday afternoon’s series finale. His approach seemed to be to have a fairly large strike-zone, helping both sets of pitchers - all seven of his blown calls all involved labeling a “true” ball as a strike. But that zone was entirely consistent, with no balls called inside it. And in general, he only missed seven of 181 calls, which is better than most.

All told the umpires cost Arizona 0.66 runs this week, which helps negate a chunk of the favor they received in Week 1. All told though, the umpires have still helped the Diamondbacks to the tune of 0.78 runs in 2021.