Cokin’s Corner, Thursday 7/28/16

  • July 27, 2016

I could be mistaken, but I don’t believe I’ve devoted even one solitary edition of this blog to bad umpiring. At least not this season. That changes today.

Let me make it clear there aren’t any sour grapes at issue here. I had no involvement in Wednesday evening’s game between the Angels and Royals. So this is a totally unbiased observation.

The umpires that worked this game or at least one of them, should be forced to take about one week off without pay. Yeah, I know that won’t happen, as their union would never stand for it, and I don’t think there’s any chance MLB would issue such an edict.

But when the umpires either don’t know the rules, or simply refuse to enforce them, there has to be some consequence.

In case you missed it, here’s what happened on what turned out to be the biggest play of the game. Bottom of the seventh inning. KC’s Raul Mondesi, Jr attempted a sacrifice bunt, Halos pitcher Matt Shoemaker fielded the ball and Mondesi impeded Shoemaker’s throw to first base. Mondesi was clearly inside the line on the grass. That is interference, Mondesi is out and everything else that took place on the play is nullified.

Only one problem. Umpire Phil Cuzzi flat out blew what was actually a really easy and no doubt about it call. The play was not reviewable because it fell into the judgment call category.

That is utterly ridiculous on every level. The call was egregiously incorrect, and absolutely needed to be reversed. But to me, the fact that Cuzzi could get this call so completely wrong is the crux of the problem. I don’t know how it’s possible to screw up such a clear cut interference call.

I’m not here to unload on Phil Cuzzi, but the fact remains he’s been involved in some of the most horrendously awful blown calls in baseball history. The Joe Mauer foul ball that was clearly fair in the 2009 ALDS. An incredibly awful blown call at the plate in a Giants-Mets game back in 2010. His strike zone has been called into question on a far too frequent basis. Cuzzi once issued a walk to Cameron Maybin on ball three. He had lost track of the count, which considering it was correct on the scoreboard was not so easy to do.

But this might have been the topper. That’s how bad the call was. The others were all split second decisions that anyone can miss. On this play, Mondesi was out of the baseline for what, 40 feet? You just can’t get that wrong, and then come up with some lame excuse as an explanation.

Whether or not the Angels would have won this game is unknown. What is known is that this umpire either didn’t know the rule or just chose to ignore it. Unacceptable at every level.

2-0 here on Wednesday, with an early winner on the Tigers and a late add on the Rockies. It’s good right now, and that’s all I’ll say as far as the recent performance is concerned. For info on my personal services, email me at

Miguel Cabrera was the hero as the Tigers edged the Red Sox for Wednesday’s free play winner. Let’s see about keeping a good current run intact with the Thursday comp.

ORIOLES (Jimenez)  at  TWINS (Gibson)

Take: ORIOLES +100

Gulp. Yeah, I’m actually advocating a play on one of the worst starting pitchers in baseball.

Ubaldo Jimenez will be on the mound tonight at Target Field as the Orioles and Twins make up a game that was postponed earlier this season.

There is no way I will try to even remotely defend backing Ubaldo. He’s a horror show. Meanwhile, Kyle Gibson has been reasonably good lately for the Twins. So, if you’re just looking at the hurlers, making the case that Gibson should be the choice is completely understandable.

This play is all about the teams involved, and not the two starting pitchers. The Twins are terrible, and I don’t believe there’s any circumstance in which they should be favored over the Orioles. Granted, Baltimore has been a mediocre road team. But they’re still a first place team that has been having around the .600 plateau for most of the season. Meanwhile, the Twins have been one of the two worst teams in the game for the entire campaign.

And that’s about the story as far as this game goes. If I’m going to have an opportunity to get even money or thereabouts with a very solid Orioles entry against the pathetic Twins, it’s likely a buy sign for me. Add in the fact that Minnesota has lost three straight, including back to back home games to the even more lowly Braves, and I’ll take my chances. Even with the dreadful Ubaldo on the mound, I’m siding with the Orioles tonight.