‘It was horrendous’: Tigers’ Haase seems to have legitimate beef on last punch-out

Detroit News

Detroit — It was just a couple of weeks ago. Eric Haase had been rung up on a pitch well below the strike zone. There were runners at second and third early in the game. He was understandably frustrated afterward, but he was also more empathetic than most would have been.

“These are the best guys in the world and they work their butts off back there,” Haase said of the umpires. “I don’t take it personally. It’s just one of those things, part of the game. I’m not a guy that makes a big fuss or anything. They’re working back there and I’m trying to protect as much as possible.”

He took a much less diplomatic tact Thursday night. And again, no baseball jury would convict. The frustrating 3-1 loss to the Rangers ended with Haase getting called out on a pitch that was 4.19 inches outside the strike zone, accoring to the site Umpire Auditor.

“It was horrendous, if we’re being honest,” Haase said. “For a guy like me who doesn’t play much, I got 100 at-bats and five or six pretty egregiously bad strikeout calls; it’s kind of tough.”

Haase has struck out 24 times in 101 plate appearances. He’s been called out on strikes five times. He has a higher called-strike percentage (15) than swinging-strike percentage (13.5). Not every called strike was a bad call, and Haase isn’t saying that.

Just enough to ruin too many of his too-few at-bats.

“Bad calls swing at-bats quite a bit,” he said. “From either walking or, like that one would’ve made it 2-2. I know you can’t play what-ifs and that, but you think you bought yourself another pitch right there, a pitch that’s nowhere near the zone.

“It’s obviously frustrating, but the situation (last out in a tough loss) is more frustrating than the call itself. There’s nothing more I can really say about it.”

Home plate umpire Jose Navas, 38-year-old Venezuelan in his third season as a big-league umpire, also called out Willi Castro on a pitch well outside the strike zone. He gave Gregory Soto a called third strike against Jonah Heim on a pitch several inches below the zone.

Twitter@cmccosky

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