Aaron Boone is leading the major leagues in ejections and Aaron Judge is leading MLB in would-be balls that are called strikes, two things that are very much related for he 2022 Yankees.
Boone lost his temper before the Yankees lost to the Red Sox, 5-4, in 11 innings in The Bronx on Friday night, after a ninth-inning pitch to Matt Carpenter appeared to be low, but was called a strike. The ensuing blowup by the Yankees manager, who was ejected for a fifth time this season, was about more than just one pitch.
At least a season’s worth of frustration was baked into Boone charging out to scream at home-plate umpire D.J. Reyburn, who appeared to mostly absorb the verbal jabs without reaction. Boone followed him around as third-base umpire Jim Reynolds continually attempted to intercede.
After a minute, Boone gave up the fight and flung his gum in disgust before exiting the field and the dugout. Carpenter ended up being hit by a pitch during the at-bat.
The Yankees’ lineup possesses plenty of tall hitters, Carpenter included, whose strike zones begin higher up than shorter hitters. Entering Friday, according to Baseball Savant, no player in baseball had faced more pitches that were deemed balls by the MLB Gameday strike zone, but were called strikes, than Judge.
According to the approximated zone, 57 pitches to Judge that should have been called balls have been called strikes. Anthony Rizzo (40) was victimized the 16th most and Giancarlo Stanton (39) the 21st most.
Boone said a culmination of the night’s calls led to his outburst. Judge had been punched out an inning prior on a pitch that appeared to be under the strike zone.
“Judge. Rizzo. Carpenter. The balls are low,” said Boone, who was ejected six times last year, which was tied for the most in the AL.
Boone had plenty to say to Reyburn, but he is not sure what he should say to Judge. He does not want his slugger chasing pitches that are balls.
“What can we tell him? I get asked it a lot,” Boone said. “[The umpires are] doing the best they can. I don’t know.”
Judge, who should have more complaints than any player, has never been thrown out of a big league game. He said he can never fully blame a failed at-bat on a missed call because there are usually other pitches he could have done damage on.
And he realizes that if he loses his composure, he might lose out on further at-bats.
“You gotta be mentally tough enough to move past that and stick to your approach,” said Judge, who went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts Friday. “That’s why I try not to really blow up on an umpire. I say my words, say my piece, but I still got a job to do. I still have a couple at-bats the rest of the night.”
Judge said “it’s tough, but it’s part of the game” — and he wants it to remain part of the game.
Automated umpires are being tested in the minor leagues and could make their way to the majors in the next few seasons.
“If there’s an issue with balls and strikes, just get guys that do a better job of calling balls and strikes,” Judge said. “I think the umpires do a great job as it is, and that’s part of the game — the human element.”