After an unfortunate stint on the disabled list with a left ankle injury, Bae Ji-hwan (24, Pittsburgh) has done a decent job since returning from injury and is part of Pittsburgh’s future plans. In 24 games since his return, he’s batting .250, which is better than his pre-injury average (.238).
He continued his hot streak in September, hitting safely in all but one of his 11 games through Sept. 14. He even had an eight-game hitting streak between the Milwaukee game on Sept. 6 and the Washington game on Sept. 14. It wasn’t exactly an explosion, but he was getting on base consistently and creating his own flow.
His hitting streak came to an end on the 15th against the Nationals at home at PNC Park. Bae went 0-for-4 with a walk and three strikeouts, putting a dent in his recent streak. His season batting average dropped from .245 to .242.
A hitter can’t get a hit every game. There are going to be days when they go 4-for-5, and days when they go 0-for-5. But on this day, Bae’s lack of at-bats was more about the umpire’s bad strike calls than anything else. Umpire Angel Hernandez, who is known for his inability to call strikes and balls, made several big mistakes. Bae Ji-hwan’s at-bat was one of them.
An analysis by Umpire Scorecards, which analyzes the accuracy of umpires’ calls, found that the first three worst strike-ball calls of the day were all concentrated in Bae’s at-bat. Umpire Scorecards uses a combination of how bad the call was and how important the game situation was to the outcome, meaning that Bae received a ridiculous call at a crucial time.
The call came in the top of the first inning, when he entered with high hopes. Bae worked a full count against Josiah Gray, and the sixth pitch was a cutter on the high side. It was a generous pitch, even by the standards of most strike calls, considering Bae’s size. But umpire Hernandez’s hand went up. It was a strikeout. Bae was stunned.
Bae struck out swinging in his second at-bat of the inning. Then, in the sixth inning with his team up 2-0, he cried on the umpire again. With Gray at 2B-2S, a five-pitch sweeper landed just outside the left-field fence. It wasn’t that hard to tell because it curved outside, but this time, Hernandez didn’t call it, and he was called out again. Bae shook his head in disbelief.
The first inning call was the No. 1 worst call of the day, and the sixth inning call was the No. 2 worst call of the day. The third worst call of the night also came in Bae’s at-bat. Coincidentally, it was in the first inning, and Bae took advantage of it. Three pitches from 1B-1S, a curveball was dropped low and away.
Graphically, it appeared to be in the zone. Considering that a curveball is a top-to-bottom pitch, it was, but umpire Hernandez didn’t raise his hand. In the first inning, both Gray and Bae took a loss. But the difference between first and third place was whether it was before or after 2S.
Umpire Hernandez’s accuracy on the day was literally shocking. With the overall difficulty level of the game requiring a 92% accuracy rate, Hernandez’s accuracy rate was 84%. He missed a whopping 15 out of 93 balls. His consistency, at 91%, was also below the league average (94%). This inaccuracy and inconsistency can be frustrating for pitchers and hitters when it comes to setting up zones.
Fans on X (formerly Twitter) sarcastically commented on the numbers, saying “consistently awful,” “typical Angel disaster class,” “these are MLB numbers,” “he’s trying to get fired on purpose,” and “another spectacular Angel performance”. Fans are getting tired of the constant blown calls. It’s not just the umpires who have a poor record of accuracy at first base.
Umpire Hernandez is the league’s public enemy number one. He debuted in the major leagues in 1991, boasting a whopping 32 years of experience and often calling big games. But his accuracy has plummeted in the 21st century, and in a 2010 ESPN poll, 22% of players named him the worst umpire in the game. His officiating accuracy has declined with age. In recent years, his accuracy rate has dropped below 90 percent, much to the chagrin of fans and players alike. 메이저놀이터
Hernandez has a history of calling balls that has also plagued Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto). In his start against Colorado at Coors Field on April 2, Ryu was criticized for his inaccurate and inconsistent strike and ball calls. It was also a moment that brought back the notoriety to Korean fans. Ryu wasn’t the only Colorado pitcher to be victimized, either, as Chris Flexen and other pitchers were also victimized on multiple occasions. Hernandez’s major league career has also become a topic of conversation around the league.