Thursday, May 27, 2010

What Does Andy Fletcher Have Against Ike Davis?

By Nicholas Stix

Well, it’s official. Ump Andy Fletcher is not a Mets fan.

Fletcher, who is calling balls and strikes in the Mets-Phillies game in progress, has been tampering with the game. That’s good news, if you’re a Phils’ fan, but not so good for Mets fans.

In the first inning, Fletcher punched Mets rookie Ike Davis out on a Cole Hamels pitch that was at least two inches outside.

In the third inning, on a 1-1 count with Davis up and two men on base, Fletcher called a strike on a Hamels pitch that was at least six inches outside. And on the next pitch, which according to Mets announcer Keith Hernandez, was in the same spot, Fletcher twitched, before calling it a ball, as if he had been about to call strike three, but decided to do Davis “a favor.” Because of Fletcher’s mischief, Davis, who (unlike Fletcher) has a very good sense of the strike zone, felt forced to make a defensive swing on a ball, and made an out. (I think he grounded out.)

Keith Hernandez said that that was the sort of thing that umps did “thirty years ago” to rookies, to see if they’d snap. In 1980 or earlier.

In the top of sixth, on a 2-0 count on the Phillies’ Chase Utley, Mets starter Mike Pelfrey threw a thigh-high fastball right over the middle of the plate—if that isn’t a strike, what is?—yet Fletcher called it a ball. One of the Mets announcers said, “If that’s Davis, it’s a strike,” and of Pelfrey, “He’s hot.” Mets skipper Jerry Manuel shouted something from the dugout to Fletcher, which one of the announcers said, “That’s probably, ‘Call ‘em both ways!’”

Due to Fletcher’s squeezing him, Pelfrey (like Davis) then felt forced to serve up a ball right down the middle of the plate to Utley, which usually means a home run to right field. However, Utley is in a terrible slump, and flied out.

In the bottom of the inning with one out, Davis didn’t wait around for Fletcher to cheat him, and hit a fastball on Hamel’s first pitch to right field for a single.

And so, in the top of the eighth, after seven scoreless innings by Mike Pelfrey, and on the strength of a first-inning, run-scoring double by Jason Bay, the Mets are winning, 1-0… no thanks to Andy Fletcher.

No comments: