Angel Hernandez, the umpire, infuriates the Philadelphia Phillies and makes a case for an automated strike zone.

In his first year as a full-time umpire, Angel Hernandez has made a few high-profile mistakes, including a call that cost the Phillies a victory in a playoff game last season.

This wasn’t just a baseball game – and yet another Phillies loss – it was a two-hour, 49-minute, nationally televised infomercial in support of those who believe baseball requires an automated strike zone.

On Sunday night, ESPN showed up to broadcast an early-season game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Milwaukee Brewers and ended up with an unwelcome guest star: home plate umpire Angel Hernandez.

Angel Hernandez, the umpire, infuriates the Philadelphia Phillies and makes a case for an automated strike zone.
Angel Hernandez, the umpire, infuriates the Philadelphia Phillies and makes a case for an automated strike zone.

Angel Hernandez drew the ire of both teams throughout the night for his erroneous strike zone.
It was only a matter of time before someone went volcanic as the game progressed, remaining tense and scoreless after eight innings, and it happened in the bottom of the ninth.
Hernandez rung up Kyle Schwarber with one out in a one-run game on a full-count pitch that everything from the eyeball to the electronic data said was off the plate.

Three innings earlier, Schwarber had been harmed by Hernandez’ interpretation of the strike zone.
This time, he went off the deep end, spiking his bat and helmet, yelling at Hernandez, and being ejected.

The Phillies were defeated, 1-0, on a run in the top of the ninth inning.
In the process, they squandered Aaron Nola’s talent Angel Hernandez

.Since winning two of three games against Oakland to start the season, the Phillies have lost four straight series.

They are 6-10, have been shut out twice, and have been held to one run on three occasions.
The Phillies already have plenty of reasons to be frustrated Angel Hernandez, and Hernandez added to their list.

“It’s got to be better than that, right?” manager Joe Girardi said moments after the final out.
“I know he’s doing his best, but…”

The game featured 26 strikeouts, including nine by Nola and a career-high 13 by Milwaukee lefty Eric Lauer.

Hernandez called third strikes on five of the strikeouts.
According to Statcast, all five strikeout pitches were off the plate.

Hernandez called a total of ten strikes on Phillies hitters who were out of the zone, according to the data.

He struck out seven Milwaukee batters who were out of the strike zone Angel Hernandez.

Schwarber was remarkably composed as he spoke with reporters at his locker in the ninth inning, just moments after exploding at Hernandez.

“That’s a big spot,” he said.
“You’re facing a really good closer (Josh Hader) and you get a pitch you don’t think is there.”
You can be on first base with one out in the ninth inning.
That’s why I came…
Everyone was aware of what was going on.
I’m not here to bury anyone, but it wasn’t all that great.
I’m not sure how to put it properly.
It was just not very good.
Guys were doing an excellent job of not saying much tonight. It just got to the point where I decided to stand up for some other guys.”

With one out in the fifth inning, Angel Hernandez had one of his worst at-bats of the night.
In a scoreless game, the Phillies had loaded the bases with leadoff man Jean Segura coming up.

Hernandez put Segura in a bind by calling a strike on a pitch that was several inches inside the strike zone.
Segura, dissatisfied with the call, struck out two pitches later.
Rhys Hoskins then struck out, putting an end to the threat.
He also didn’t agree with one of Hernandez’ calls.

“That’s way inside,” Girardi said of Segura’s first pitch.
“It makes things extremely difficult. Because they’ve been called strikes, players will swing at pitches they wouldn’t normally swing at.
However, it makes things extremely difficult.

“It’s on both sides.”
26 strikeouts and 54 outs.
You are aware.
It’s difficult.”

Major League Baseball officials who have experimented with the use of an automated strike zone at the minor league level were undoubtedly watching Hernandez’s poor performance in prime time.

Girardi is all in.

“Well, I wouldn’t mind it at all.
“I wouldn’t,” he replied.
“I’ve always believed that umpires should stand behind the pitcher.”
I believe you’re much better off there, and you’re better protected.
They have to move to the side a little bit when behind the plate because they can’t have 20 concussions. Angel Hernandez It’s also their source of income, so I understand why they do it. “It’s not an easy job.
It’s not.

That’s why I’m partial to an automated strike zone.
It takes some of it off them.”

Schwarber is opposed to an automated strike zone.
Even after a night like Sunday, when he was called out twice on balls off the plate, lost his cool, and lost the game…

“I’m a big fan of umpires.”
I’m not opposed to them.
“I’m pro-umpire,” he declared.
“I’m not interested in the electronic strike zone.”
I like the fact that pitches aren’t always called.
Guys don’t like it or whatever it is.
It’s a fun aspect of the game. Angel Hernandez However, when things are called off the plate and they have really good pitching on their side, it can be difficult to score.
You could see on both sides that it was a more difficult game to score.”

Schwarber was asked if he thought the umpiring decision cost the Phillies the game.

“I’m not sure,” he admitted.
“It could have happened.”
It could have happened.”

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