Via Larry Brown Sports:
Umpire Angel Hernandez truly embarrassed himself Thursday with one of the worst strike calls we have seen.
Hernandez’s laughable call came during the top of the ninth inning of a Pool 2 game between Team USA and the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. Pinch hitter Erick Aybar was up with Nelson Cruz on third, one out, and the score 1-1. With the game tied and a spot in the WBC semifinals on the line, the environment was tense and every pitch counted. But Hernandez gave closer Craig Kimbrel the call on a breaking ball a foot off the plate. The pitch so far outside that it was wide of the batter’s box chalk. Catcher J.P. Arencibia didn’t even bother to try to frame the pitch because it was so bad. Yet Hernandez called it a strike, causing Aybar to lose his mind.
The Dominican infielder composed himself and managed to line a 97 mph fastball into right field on the next pitch to score Cruz and give his team the lead. Jose Reyes drove in Aybar with a base hit, and the Dominican team won the game 3-1 to earn a spot in the WBC semifinals.
Hernandez’s absurd call predictably drew plenty of jeers from baseball fans watching the game. Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon McCarthy summed up the call:
Oakland A’s pitcher Brett Anderson had an even better line after seeing Aybar get a hit on the next pitch:
Seeing this call from Hernandez should not be a surprise to anyone who has followed his career. A book that reviewed umpires from 2007-2010 said this of Hernandez:
He is among the most vilified umpires in the major leagues. … Looking at his annual plate-calling numbers, it’s easy to see why critics contend that Hernandez has an inconsistent strike zone. … His K/9 was consistently below average [from 2007-2009], but then shot up in 2010. Hernandez’s R/9 has also jumped around.
Texas Rangers Manager Ron Washington had a succinct assessment of him:
“Angel is just bad. That’s all there is to it.”
Yup, we can all see that.