Calling balls and strikes can be a difficult job, but MLB umpire Nate Tomlinson had a particularly rough night behind the plate Friday night at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
Unless you ask the Dodgers, that is.
The Giants ultimately walked away with a 7-5 victory over their longtime rivals after 11 hard-fought innings, but the balls and strikes Tomlinson called during the game nearly hand-delivered the Dodgers a win.
Tomlinson missed a total of 12 calls behind the plate Friday, calling two balls on batters that actually were strikes and 10 strikes that in fact were balls. His 86-percent called strike accuracy during the game was two percent lower than the league average, and his calls on the night resulted in an overall favor of plus-2.44 runs for Los Angeles.
Per Umpire Scorecards, favor metrics represent the impact of an umpire on a team’s or game’s expected runs. Friday night’s 2.44 runs in favor of the Dodgers is the fourth-largest gap of the season in favor of a home team, behind umpire Edwin Moscoso’s 2.45 runs in favor of the San Diego Padres on Thursday, CB Bucknor’s 2.63 runs in the Texas Rangers’ favor April 1 and Lance Barksdale’s 3.17 runs in favor of the Kansas City Royals on May 26.
So far this season, the Giants’ win over the Dodgers is just one of eight games this season with a favor metric greater than two runs.
On Friday night, the game’s most impactful missed call came in the top of the eighth inning, when Giants outfielder Mike Yastrzemski struck out looking on a full count with two outs and the bases loaded.
With a 5-4 lead, the missed call took away a prime opportunity for the Giants to tack on some insurance. It proved especially costly after the Dodgers came back to tie the game in the ninth.
The other two most impactful calls went against the Giants, too — a called strike three on Michael Conforto that was up in the zone in the top of fourth, and another called strike on Wilmer Flores in the second that also was too high.
In the grand scheme of things, the Giants pulled off a win over the Dodgers regardless. But with the NL West standings as tight as they are, every pitch is incredibly important — especially within the division.