New York Yankees Get Favorable Calls Against Anaheim Angels?

| by Sliding Into Home

From The OC Register:

This week, Ervin Santana was quoted as saying the Yankees get a different strike zone when they play (after Santana had walked five in 5 2/3 innings).

But Angels catcher Jeff Mathis wasn’t about to bite when asked about a close call in a crucial situation that went the Yankees’ way in Wednesday’s game.

“No comment,” Mathis said when asked if the strike zone changes size for certain Yankee hitters. “No comment. Zero. Ze-ro.”

Alex Rodriguez was the tying run when he faced Kevin Jepsen in the eighth inning Wednesday. With the count full, Jepsen appeared to hit the outside corner at the knees with a 97-mph fastball. Replays (including an overhead view) seemed to support a strike call. But home-plate umpire Dan Bellino called it a ball, sending Rodriguez to first and bringing Robinson Cano to the plate as the go-ahead run.

“Let’s put it this way — it was right where I wanted to throw it,” Jepsen said. “I felt like it was a good pitch.”


Angels manager Mike Scioscia’s reaction to that explanation was caught on camera — and it was not fit for print.

Mathis was asked if he watched the replay on video after the game.

“I did,” he said. “No comment.”

Jepsen was able to work out of the jam and hand a two-run lead over to Fernando Rodney in the ninth.

“It is what it is,” Scioscia said later. “You’re never going to hang your hat on one call. You don’t get a call, you keep playing and that’s what we did.”

By the way, here's Ervin Santana's quote from a couple days ago via NESN:

"Sometimes, when [Andy] Pettitte was pitching, he'd throw a fastball a little up and he'd call it. He'd throw it a little down and he'd still call it," Santana told "When I do the same thing, he didn't give me the call. That's because it's the Yankees. That happens every time we play the Yankees or Boston."

Instead of just spouting out my on opinion on this subjects lets look at the strikezone plots for Pettitte and Santana from Opening Day...


Based on these charts both pitchers lost a few strikes within the zone (Pettitte lost 4 and Santana lost 7), while Santana, not Pettitte, got a couple strikes called that were outside the zone. The results do not seem to favor either pitcher.

Now let's look at the game as a whole. Here's a normalized strikezone plot for all batters, showing all balls and strikes called for both teams:

(all charts via Brooks Baseball)

In this chart, green dots are balls and red dots are strikes. As you can see, both teams got calls on the left side of the plate. The Yankees did get three calls that were worse than anything called for the Angels on that side of the plate, but the Angels got two strikes called -- one low and one off the right corner of the plate -- that were clearly out of the zone. However, the one thing to take from these charts is that the game was called pretty well on both sides and the Angels should stop their complaining.