The Clifton was not good last night. He released his balls high (no jokes, children), couldn’t develop a steady rhythm, and he almost got his fucking head taken off by a line drive. However, home plate umpire Gerry Davis did him no favors. Look at this strike zone plot from last night (the green dots are balls, the pale red ones are called strikes):
Chart courtesy of BrooksBaseball.net
I circled the balls that were touching at least part of the strike zone, and added weight to the five pitches that were well within it. The worst part – for a pitcher – is that there was no consistency from Davis. Lee didn’t get the high pitch, the low pitch, the inside pitch, nor the outside pitch. The strike zone was just small. Only one “ball” was called a strike (highlighted in yellow), compared to the 11 strikes that were called balls.
Lee, of course, is partly to blame. His command was off all night. He threw 15 (at least, it’s hard to count all of them) pitches that were significantly high- most of them were fastballs. Of the 15 4-seam fastballs he threw, only seven were strikes. Usually, about 70% of his fastballs will find the strike zone. Not good.
Ironically, per Ryan Lawrence, Davis was the umpire in Game 1 of the 2009 World Series, when Lee struck out 10, walked none, and threw 80 of his 122 pitches for strikes.