As an ex-catcher, I’ve seen the difference between men in blue who don’t understand the strike zone, those who call a bad zone, and those who were just plain dirty.
Brian Runge was dirty tonight.
Perhaps it goes back to July 19th, 2006, when a young Tom Gorzelanny stood on the mound and stared down Runge as if he was challenging him to a fist fight?
Then the next night Runge’s best friend Bruce Froemming shut his extremely large strike zone down to the size of a pea in the 6th inning causing Duke to wince several times at him, and forcing Colborn to send a different pitcher to the mound in the 7th.
Needless to say, the Pirates young pitching staff have not made a good impression on Runge, who is a third-generation, old-school umpire. Maybe it was Runge’s payback time?
Whatever the reason, Runge called a deliberate dirty zone all night long forcing Maholm to center the ball in the zone to get a strike while giving the Brewers pitchers two-times the black in the zone.
The end result was a massive amount of strikeouts for the Pirates and a ton of hits for the Brewers.
Now don’t get me wrong.. Vargas pitched a good game and Maholm didn’t hit his spots, the Brewers bats squared on the ball all night long while Pirate batters forgot what shortening a swing or even swinging the bat meant, and the Pirates looked like little leaguers on the field at times.
It was a win the Brewers deserved. I tip my hat to them.
But not at the hand of a dirty Runge.
That’s all I’m going to say about it. I pray I never see such an unprofessionally called game again and I hope Littlefield takes the game tape to the Commissioner’s Office.
Jason Bay homered in the third inning giving him 100 career home runs.. Freddy Sanchez missed several routine balls in play in his zone.. Bay was charged with an error after he and Duffy came together on Hall’s fly ball, they both backed off at the last minute, and the ball fell in for a hit.. Duffy singled in the 5th and he scored two pick off throws and three errors later without a pitch ever being thrown to the plate.. Pirates were 1-9 with runners in scoring position including three consecutive strikeouts in the 4th with the bases loaded.. the Brewers 3 & 4 hitters went 6-8 with 4 runs scored and 4 rbis.
Zach Duke starts Thursday and the Pirates are 0-3 when he starts at Miller.