Just over a month ago, Kevin Gregg unequivocally got squeezed against the Tampa Bay Rays. It was an epic fail of an inning, but the set of circumstances that lead to that particular situation were even more atrocious.
This time however, I have to give credit to the manager Cito Gaston because he did the absolutely right thing. He gave his closer a little bit of rope, but not enough to let him hang himself and yanked him after walking the bases loaded in a one-run game.
It’s funny because a month ago, I don’t think Cito could have even fathomed yanking his closer out of the game in a save situation, no matter how ugly things got. Yet for some reason, Kevin Greg yipped back at his manager as though Gregg was completely in control of things when he clearly wasn’t.
So did Kevin Gregg get squeezed by home plate ump Jim Reynolds? Let’s take a look at the Pitch F/X below, courtesy of the always fantastic Brooks Baseball.
Adam Jones: First Walk
Kevin Gregg quickly retired Ty Wigginton on three straight pitches, but then ran into a little bit of trouble with Adam Jones. The only real questionable call was the second pitch on the outside corner, but it’s debatable. In a game of inches, you can’t really argue a pitch that close to the zone.
Felix Pie: Second Walk
The very next batter, left-hander Felix Pie steps in and Gregg feeds him a steady diet of outside pitches, sprinkled with a couple on the inner part of the plate. The fourth pitch was a 87 MPH slider inside which was called a ball, and it could have easily gone either way.
That pitch however was much closer to being a strike than the second pitch to Adam Jones.
Julio Lugo: Third Walk
Following the Pie walk, Kevin Gregg quickly gets Scott Moore to fly out to left field and then goes to work against Julio Lugo. Gregg gets the first pitch strike, but then subsequently lets four pitches go for balls. There was just one on the outside corner that could have been deemed either a ball or strike.
However small or big of an injustice you may think some of these calls were, perhaps the biggest one of all is below.
Cesar Izturis: Ground Out
If you thought that Shawn Camp received a gift of a call on his very first pitch out of the bullpen, you’re right. Look at how far it’s off the strike zone … it’s not even close. But hey, maybe that was a “compensatory call” after Kevin Gregg missed a couple on the corner.
It’s difficult to discern whether or not Kevin Gregg truly got squeezed or not. When a pitcher is having trouble throwing strikes in the first place, he doesn’t really do himself any favours in the mind of the home plate umpire.
That being said, if Gregg wasn’t getting those calls he should’ve adjusted accordingly, rather than let things get out of hand and walk the bases loaded. Fortunately, his manager had the sense of mind to see what was happening and took him out of the game at the perfect time.
This one could have been really messy, but the Blue Jays squeaked out a close one against the Orioles. Even though the Blue Jays came out on the winning end, I have a feeling we’ll be talking about this one for a while.