For the second time in this year’s playoffs, the Boston Red Sox were robbed of a deserved victory on Tuesday night.
Mere days after poor officiating cost them what would have been a guaranteed win, history repeated itself.
At the center of all of Boston’s woes was Umpire Laz Diaz. During a pivotal at-bat in the top of the 9th inning, he completely botched the calls on a series of Nathan Eovaldi pitches.
Eovaldi initially allowed a double and an intentional walk, only to then strike out two in a row. At that point, Astros catcher Jason Castro came up to bat with the scored tied 2-2 and runners on first and second.
Over the course of Castro’s at bat, Eovaldi would go on to throw six strikes. Unfortunately, Diaz somehow managed to not see that.
Eovaldi’s 0-1 pitch to Castro was inexplicably called a ball because it was too high, but video shows it clearly caught the top of the zone and should have been a strike. Then with the count sitting at 1-2, a breaking ball blatantly caught the corner – only for Diaz to call it a ball as well.
If this is called a strike, the inning is over and the game stays tied.
But Laz Diaz called it a ball. pic.twitter.com/yIrBezqk89
— Evan Marinofsky (@EvanMarinofsky) October 20, 2021
Home-plate umpire Laz Diaz has missed 21 ball-strike calls tonight, according to @ESPNStatsInfo. That is the most of any umpire this postseason. The green dot in the upper RH corner is the Eovaldi curveball that would’ve ended top of the ninth with the score 2-2.
It is now 9-2. pic.twitter.com/VzdyL4lth3
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 20, 2021
— Blueprint (@BlueprintGM) October 20, 2021
After being gifted six strikes that weren’t ruled as strikes, Castro ended up hitting an RBI single on a 2-2 pitch to break the tie. Houston would go on to capture a 9-2 victory and tie the series up at two wins apiece.
Needless to say, the Red Sox felt like that they were on the receiving end of terrible officiating all night:
Alex Cora wanted to throw hands with Laz Diaz…
— Boston Strong (@BostonStrong_34) October 20, 2021
Given Diaz’s track record, nothing that happened on Tuesday night should come as that much of a surprise.
Laz Diaz will call balls and strikes in game 4 of the ALCS. He was one of the worst home plate umpires in MLB this year. Bottom 6% in accuracy, bottom 12% in consistency. Buckle up. https://t.co/hBwxMlsZ5w pic.twitter.com/ws7SOzufEB
— The Astros Locker (@TheAstrosLocker) October 15, 2021
That said, at a certain point the powers that be will need to step in here and intervene. The integrity of baseball takes a major hit every time something like this occurs. It is embarrassing for the sport and a hindrance to increased mainstream adaptability. Bring in robots, cyborgs – whatever. Just fix the problem.
Bad officiating has become an all-too-common story in sports this year. At seemingly every athletic level, it is cheating teams of victories. Hopefully someone does something about it, because at this point it’s getting a little embarrassing.
Ronda Rousey’s personal photo goes viral. https://t.co/0hV1oXfhqR
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 19, 2021