Let’s watch some baseball! Rewind to Thursday night, in Boston, where the Angels were playing the Red Sox. The story of most of the night was Matt Shoemaker, but for our specific purposes, the story didn’t really involve Shoemaker at all.
We’ll pick things up in the top of the sixth. Ahead in the count 2-and-1, Albert Pujols took a high slider, but it got called a strike, much to Pujols’ displeasure. The pitch was received by Christian Vazquez, who seems to be an elite-level pitch-framer.
On the next pitch, Pujols went down swinging. Shortly thereafter, Pujols must’ve said something from the dugout, because he got tossed, and Mike Scioscia subsequently also got tossed for defending his first baseman.
You could say that pitch-framing was largely responsible for two people on the Angels’ payroll getting ejected. For good measure, let’s skip ahead to the top of the seventh, with Collin Cowgill facing a two-strike count:
Framed, and Cowgill didn’t like it. He managed to not get ejected, but he was clearly frustrated as he walked away. The Angels weren’t big fans of Andy Fletcher’s strike zone.
And, that’s fine. We’re looking at some borderline calls, and borderline calls have to go against somebody, and that side is going to be upset. Especially in the heat of late-August competition, when the Angels are trying to win a division and get to the ALDS. But, here’s the thing: pitch-framing is a skill, and every catcher tries to do it. One of the Angels’ own catchers, Hank Conger, seems to be pretty good at it. The Angels benefit from framing effects, and one wonders, do they come out ahead or behind overall? And if they come out ahead, what sense is there in arguing, really?
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