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By the fourth inning of Game 3 of the American League Division Series, the New York Yankees had fallen behind 10-0 to the Boston Red Sox. Yet, you could make the argument that they weren’t having the worst night of anyone at Yankee Stadium.
That honor — or dishonor — would instead go to umpire Ángel Hernández, who by the fourth inning had managed to have three calls flagged for review and overturned by replay umpires. Three! It’s the type of futility you have to marvel at, and in a sport where fans often just accept that the umpires are going to blow calls.
Of the umpires that fans know by name, Hernández is at the top of the list. And not because he’s the Mike Trout of umpires. Let’s look at Hernández’s overturned moments from Game 3:
The first overturned call came on a second-inning bunt from Didi Gregorius, who was called safe and eventually ruled out.
The next play came in the second inning. Gleyber Torres was called out on the field but ruled safe after replay.
The third call involved Gregorius again, who didn’t even bother leaving first base because he knew he was safe and it would be overturned:
As can you can imagine, Hernández’s early calls left plenty of room for criticism from people on Twitter, starting with MLB pitchers Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson:
Is Angel Hernandez normally this bad? Or is this a bit of postseason jitters? According to data collected by Close Call Sports, Hernandez had 13 of 22 challenges overturned this season, which means he was right 40.9% of the time in challenged calls. League-wide in 2017, that percentage was 52.69.
Now guess what happens to Hernandez! Nothing. He gets to call balls and strikes in Game 4.
At least balls and strikes aren’t reviewable.
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