Reds: Umpires’ pathetic strike zone cost Luis Castillo a win

SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 20: Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches during the first inning. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 20: Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches during the first inning. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

I’m not one to constantly harp on officiating in any sport. Even in the age of technology, human error is part of baseball. That said, yesterday’s home plate umpire David Rackley was pathetic, and his pitiful understanding of the strike zone cost Cincinnati Reds‘ Luis Castillo a possible win.

All of us who are watching from the comfort of our couches have the ability to see a different perspective of the strike zone, but even someone with the worst eyesight in the stadium would’ve called a better game than Rackley.

The home plate umpire cost Luis Castillo and the Reds dearly.

In the bottom of the third inning, with Manny Machado aboard and two outs, Eric Hosmer stepped into the batters’ box to face Luis Castillo. Castillo threw four-seam fastball that missed down for a ball. Castillo’s next pitch was a fastball up that was well within the strike zone, and Rackley stared into space as if Castillo had missed by a mile.

It only got worse, as after Castillo finally was granted a called strike, the right-hander touched the top of the zone again, almost in the identical spot as the second pitch. Once again, Rackley, who must have been checking his watch, called it a ball. Castillo’s next pitch actually did miss up in the zone, and Hosmer took his base on a five pitch walk that should have been a four-pitch strikeout.

With Wil Myers up next and two runners aboard, Luis Castillo regrouped and began the at-bat with a 99-MPH sinker that induced a swing and a miss from the Padres’ slugger. The next pitch was called a ball and may have been one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen.

Castillo’s two-seam fastball rode up in the zone and Tyler Stephenson had to reach up in order to snag it. It was painfully obvious to anyone watching the game, except David Rackley, that the pitch, while awkwardly handled by Stephenson, was a strike.

Instead, Rackley sat there bewildered once again and refused to give Castillo the call. Are you kidding me?! Take a look at screenshot above to see just how egregious the no-call was. Myers eventually roped a line drive into right field, scoring Machado and Hosmer and then scampered home himself after an error by Joey Votto.

Luis Castillo was pulled after six innings of six-hit, two-run baseball, but I prefer to think of it as five hits and no runs. Unfortunately, the official scorers don’t see it that way, and the Cincinnati Reds dropped their fourth straight game to the San Diego Padres.

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So long as MLB continue to employ umpires like David Rackley, Laz Diaz, and Angel Hernandez, fans will continue to clamor for robots-umps. As far as Reds’ starter Luis Castillo is concerned, they should have debuted yesterday.