With the National League Division Series tied at one game apiece, the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals relied on starting pitchers at vastly different points in their careers.

John Lackey, in his 12th season and first with the Cardinals after being traded in August, made the 17th postseason start of his career. Whereas the Dodgers sent Hyun-Jin Ryu to the mound in just his second season in the Majors and third career playoff start.

Furthermore, Ryu started for the first time since Sept. 12 when he managed to throw just one inning due to shoulder irritation. Both pitchers were sharp with neither surrendering a run until the Cardinals scratched in the third inning.

Some of their success came as a result of home plate umpire Dale Scott’s wide and at times, inconsistent strike zone. Lackey was the primary beneficiary as he lived on the outside corner when facing right-handed batters and collected eight strikeouts across seven innings.

Following the Dodgers’ loss that’s left them in a must-win situation Tuesday, Matt Kemp openly expressed his disdain for Scott’s calls, via ESPN LA’s Mark Saxon:

Terrible. Terrible strike zone. I’ve never seen anything like it. That’s disappointing because you’ve got guys out there battling. You know, this is two good teams going at it, and it’s supposed to be the teams, not the umpire, and I just feel like the umpire took the bat out of our hands today. He had a very generous strike zone. It’s hard to face good pitching when you’ve got a guy throwing a ball in the other batter’s box, and it’s called strikes.”

Kemp struck out in his final two at-bats of the game, which came in the sixth and ninth innings. In the sixth, he fell behind in the count 0-2 with the second called strike a borderline fastball on the outside corner.

Kemp finished the at-bat by chasing a pitch low for the second out and left the Dodgers in danger of stranding Yasiel Puig at third base after his leadoff triple. With the Dodgers trailing by two runs in the ninth, Kemp led the inning off and was called out on strikes on an outside fastball.

Seemingly frustrated with how the night unfolded, Kemp got into a heated argument with Scott before returning to the dugout. While there were instances where Ryu may have gotten the benefit of the doubt, he seemed to have trouble getting strikes called on the inside corner when facing right-handed batters.

While Scott may have made the Dodgers’ night more of an uphill battle than it should have been, they must now regroup as they face elimination Tuesday with Shelby Miller set to start for the Cardinals.

About The Author

Matt is a journalist from Whittier, California. A Cal State Long Beach graduate, Matthew occasionally contributes to Lakers Nation, and previously served as the lead editor and digital strategist at Dodgers Nation, and the co-editor and lead writer at Reign of Troy, where he covered USC Football. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mmoreno1015

9 Responses

    • Chriss Gallegos

      How about u actually analyze the graph. Clearly shows tht the INSIDE part of plate was being called for thr cardinals a bit more. The pitches tht wer in the dodgers favor wer outside pitches amd it was only a couple . The author of ur article couldn’t even read the graph right

      Reply
      • Joshua Lutz

        Either way, the graph shows a fairly consistent strike zone, bad, but consistent, and certainly not biased.

    • Chriss Gallegos

      Yeah cuz when the umpire claps when a player strikes out he is definitely not being in favor of the cardinals.. pshh please

      Reply
      • Joshua Lutz

        Scott was doing that all night. If I had time, I could cherry pick video from the game too.

  1. Jeffrey Later

    Joshua, you join with Joe Buck (who only got his job based on his father) as being a Cardinal homeboy. Kemp was right that pitches far outside to right handed batters were called strikes, and pitches a bit inside (when Ryu rolled his eyes on one pitch) were called balls. Fox rarely used the graphic to demonstrate how hideous these calls were. This moronic umpire should be fired immediately as he only should be allowed in a major league ballpark to sell peanuts.

    Reply
    • Joshua Lutz

      Nepotism aside, the announcers often mentioned how far outside strikes were being called. They showed the PitchF/X about as often as they normally do. They can’t criticize the calls too much or they would suffer a fate worse than the fine Kemp will receive.

      Reply
      • fuck

        Ump was awful plain and simple.. you’re not suppose to show a sign of favoritism to any team. He did.. he clapped when puig struck out and he was calling horrible strikes and balls against the Dodgers.. and of course you’re going to say wasn’t because you’re a cardinals fan..

    • thomas rickard

      Actually they did comment on erratic strike zone, the biggest problem was that he wasn’t consistent from pitch to pitch, best example was with Kemp in 9th where same pitch first was a ball then strike 3, his accuracy rate was only 84% well below average of 88%, it’s a game like last night that will eventually have balls&strikes called digitally, the technology is available now and some day people will want it right, and for those of you who say never, you are probably the same people who said that replay would never happen, today people whant it right!

      Reply

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