Image courtesy of Daylife
Watching Kevin Gregg collapse against the Tampa Bay Rays was one of the most painful things I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen some painful baseball games in my short time on this earth.
I was fortunate enough to be there live last season to see the Blue Jays blow the biggest lead in club history, only to lose to … you guessed it, the Tampa Bay Rays!
However, watching it all go down live on last night’s Score live blog, I couldn’t help but notice that Kevin Gregg wasn’t that far off on a lot of pitches, and many if not most of them were borderline.
It begs the question: did Kevin Gregg get squeezed against the Rays? Let’s take a look at the Pitch F/X and find out.
B.J. Upton – Strikeout
Kevin Gregg got the job done against B.J. Upton striking him out, but there was very close call on the second pitch of the at bat: the fastball at the knees called ball two. It’s all a moot point though because Upton struck out anyway.
Evan Longoria – Walk
From what I remember, Gregg caught the edge or came very close on those fourth and sixth pitches to Evan Longoria which were both called balls. The first close one was an inside fastball, and the second close pitch was an inside cutter.
John Jaso: Walk
Here’s where things start to get interesting. In this at bat to John Jaso, Kevin Gregg starts him off with a first pitch slider, followed by a couple of changeups on the lower outside corner.
As you can see, both pitches were extremely close and home plate umpire Angel Hernandez didn’t waiver from his strike zone one bit.
Ben Zobrist: Walk
At this point, I’m sure Kevin Gregg’s blood is just boiling. Still grasping to a two-run lead with Carl Crawford at third and Evan Longoria at second base, Gregg attempts to take care of Ben Zobrist.
He misses his locations early in the count, then delivers two borderline pitches on the opposite side of the plate about belt-high on Zobrist. As you can see from the Pitch F/X, those pitches should have been called strike two and three.
Dionner Navarro: Walk
Then just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, it did. Kevin Gregg gives up a three-run double to Sean Rodriguez. Seemingly those nerves had settled down, and all he needed to do was get the final out of the inning and hope his teammates could tie it or win it in the bottom of the ninth.
Instead, check out the placement of the first pitch offering to Dionner Navarro. A slider right there at the knees, yet it’s called a ball. Then Gregg makes a couple other great pitches away from Navarro, also called balls.
After looking at all the aforementioned evidence, it’s tough to say for certain whether or not Kevin Gregg got squeezed by home plate umpire Angel Sanchez. There were definitely a couple of borderline calls, but that’s just part of the game of baseball.
Unfortunately, situations like this get magnified especially when the game is on the line. The worst thing Kevin Gregg did in that inning was walking Carl Crawford on four straight pitches to lead off the inning after striking out B.J. Upton.
Although he wasn’t even the tying run, Crawford started the entire chain reaction and kept it going by stealing second base and then advancing to third on the wild throw from Gregg.