Ump Scorecard & MLB Tech Prove Phil Cuzzi Screwed Twins Out of Win vs Dodgers

AP Photo: Brandon Sloter

The Minnesota Twins lost a late-night barn-burner in LA vs the Dodgers on Monday night (into Tuesday morning). They fell behind early but fought back multiple times to push the contest into extra innings.

MLB umpire, Phil Cuzzi — who infamously called Joe Mauer’s 11th-inning leadoff double a foul ball, back in game-1 of the 2009 ALDS vs the Yankees — had a rough night behind the plate. But his calls got worse as the game went on.

Phil Cuzzi’s strike zone costs Twins

And in classic Cuzzi style, the bad calls rarely favored the mid-market away team. Let’s start with his ball/strike struggles, which reached peak terrible in the top of the 10th inning with the Twins’ hottest hitter, Alex Kirilloff, up to bat and the bases loaded.

Dodgers pitcher, Phil Bickford, had already walked the tying run in, right before Kirilloff stepped into the batters box. That was his second walk of the inning. Lucky for Bickford, though, Phil Cuzzi was not going to let the 27-year-old former 1st-round pick continue to embarrass himself on the mound, even if it meant widening the strike zone by 6-12 inches.

It doesn’t take advanced technology or umpire training to see that these pitches are out of the strike zone. If Alex Kirilloff wasn’t the most mild-mannered player in the league, he would have lost his mind after this at-bat and nobody would have blamed him.

But you don’t have to trust Kirilloff’s eyes, your own eyes or any other non-objective view of Phil Cuzzi’s strike zone screwjob over the Twins on Monday night. His ump scorecard, released late on Tuesday morning, showed just how bad it was.

According to @UmpScorecard‘s calculations, 15% of Cuzzi’s strike calls last night were actually balls. He was out to get the Twins so bad that his strike zone was worth 1.39 runs in favor of the Dodgers, who ended up winning 8-7.

Cuzzi fair/foul call costs Twins (again)

Phil Cuzzi couldn’t trust that his embarrassing strike zones would secure a Dodger victory, by itself. To be sure the home team left Dodger Stadium victorious, Cuzzi pulled out a trick we’ve seen him use against the Twins in big spots before.

The old ‘fair or foul’ trick. Instead of calling a fair ball foul, like he did Mauer’s all those years ago, Cuzzi called an obviously foul ball, hit by David Peralta in the 8th inning, fair. It resulted in a run for LA and put the Dodgers up 7-6 going into the 9th inning. The “fair ball” was not reviewable.

Not convinced it was foul? While the MLB doesn’t allow umps to use the technology in games, it t does allow you and me to know for sure if key fair/foul calls are correct. All we have to do is download their mobile app. No joke. You can download the MLB app and see for yourself just how could Peralta’s hit was.

Yes, it’s true that umpires and referees rarely dictate wins and losses during sporting events. But sometimes, like last night between the Dodgers and Twins, the proof is in the pudding.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

Mentioned in this article:

More About: