Red Sox

Umpire who appeared to miss Nathan Eovaldi’s called third strike missed 23 ball-strike calls

Alex Cora called being an umpire "a hard job."

Nathan Eovaldi called strike
Nathan Eovaldi of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Houston Astros in the ninth inning of Game Four of the ALCS. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The home-plate umpire who missed a costly called third strike in Game 4 of the ALCS between the Red Sox and Astros on Tuesday missed 23 ball-strike calls total per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, a new high for this postseason.

With the score tied 2-2 – and runners on first and second with two out in the top of the ninth, Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi thought he struck out Astros catcher Jason Castro. Instead, umpire Laz Diaz called the pitch a ball.

Statcast later showed the pitch should have been called a strike, part of this damning graphic from Passan.

As Passan pointed out, Diaz missed 12 calls on pitches by Red Sox pitchers and 11 on pitches by the Astros. While his missed call in the ninth was costly, his misses weren’t slanted one way or ther other.

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Alex Cora later told reporters that being an umpire is “a hard job,” adding that his biggest disagreement with Diaz was a called third strike earlier in the game on J.D. Martinez that was clearly out of the zone. Instead of having two runners on with one out, the strikeout gave the Red Sox one baserunner with two outs. At the time, Cora argued vehemently with Diaz and was directed back to the dugout by third base coach Carlos Febles before he could be ejected.

Nick Pivetta, who threw five innings in Game 4 and allowed just one run on two hits, declined to comment on Diaz’s strike zone.

The Red Sox will start Chris Sale in Game 5 on Wednesday, the final game of the series at Fenway Park. He will take on Astros starter Frambers Valdez.

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