Ron Kulpa’s Bad Night in the Big Apple

Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees games are always filled with drama, and last night’s game was no exception. However, the man behind the plate was the one who stole the show. Ian York uses PITCHf/x to show how Ron Kulpa made the strike zone a mystery to the batters as well as the pitchers.

[Note: The grey polygon is the de facto strike zone as called by the umpires throughout the season. A call that falls on the line has a 50% chance of being a ball or a strike. Blue circles are balls and red circles are strikes.]

1st Inning

2nd Inning

3rd Inning

4th Inning

4th Inning – Christian Vazquez At-Bat

5th Inning

6th Inning

7th Inning

8th Inning

9th Inning

9th Inning – David Ortiz At-Bat

Full Game

Ian York uses the PITCHf/x to monitor the strike zone, highlights great performances, monitors league-wide trends and tracks the performances of some interesting young hitters.

Follow Ian on Twitter @iayork.

All data compiled from PITCHfx.

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Ian is an immunologist and virologist who lives in Atlanta with his wife and two sons. Most of his time is spent driving his kids to baseball and soccer games, during which he indoctrinates his children on the glories of Pedro Martinez, the many virtues of the Montreal Expos, and other important information.

2 COMMENTS

    • First, PITCHf/x does account for the height and stance of the batter, in that it gives an indication of the top and bottom for each batter; but it’s not reliable, and most analysts ignore it. Second, umpires also don’t pay nearly as much attention to batter height and stance as you’d think they do. They alter their zone a little, but only very slightly — nowhere near as much as the rulebook says they should. (See this Baseball Prospectus article for more info and data – I found the same as they did.) Finally, even if they did, Ortiz is 6’3″, taller than most of the other batters — since the offending called strike was below the average strike zone, it just makes it worse if Kulpa was supposed to be adjusting for batters.

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