I’ll put it right here at the top when discussing the Astros 9-2 win in Game 4 over the Red Sox, because I’ve spent the latter half of my life having Red Sox fans yell at me in some sort of fashion anyway. The non-strike call Laz Diaz came up with on Jason Castro from Nathan Eovaldi’s curve in the ninth wasn’t that controversial. Or it shouldn’t have been. It was borderline, and by definition, those can go either way. Asking humans to split that kind of call correctly every time is the precise problem baseball has. But you lose some of the benefit of the doubt when you have a night like this:
A handful of those pitches, maybe more, could swing the game back and forth. It’s still amazing that we’re putting up with this kind of bullshit. This isn’t even a call to go to an automatic strike zone, even though that would be just fine, too. Every baseball fan knows the name Laz Diaz. Everyone knows exactly what they’re getting when he’s behind the plate. You get… this. You get some egregious call every time he puts on the gear. It’s automatic.
Which makes it clear that there isn’t any sort of meaningful evaluation system for umps. If there was, Diaz wouldn’t be getting a postseason assignment, and certainly not in the LCS. The NHL does better than this.
That doesn’t mean the Red Sox had to give up seven runs in the ninth. And here we are with yet another case of a manager sprinting to put in a starter out of relief on his throw day. We’ve all seen Eovaldi do this before, which is why he has such trust from Alex Cora. The Sox bullpen is a touch limited, and Cora had to use three relievers before the ninth. It’s not Dave Roberts just going to a starter out of the pen out of habit with a loaded bullpen sitting idly wondering what it did to insult the manager.
But Cora will be shitting a chicken until he sees how Eovaldi’s next start goes, which he’ll now need as the series goes back to Houston, regardless.