Blog Entry

La Russa complains about strike zone

Posted on: October 3, 2011 12:16 am
Edited on: October 3, 2011 12:26 am

By Evan Brunell

The Cardinals came away with a 5-4 victory in Game 2 of the NLDS to even the series at one apiece, but the game wasn't without a typical Tony La Russa complaint.

La Russa told TBS on national TV that there were two separate strike zones and that was the reason for Chris Carpenter's failed start. Carpenter was starting on three days rest, the first time he's ever done that. He was bombed for four runs over three innings and it was only due to a masterful, shutdown performance by the bullpen that the Cardinals eked out a victory.

But was La Russa right? Well, Cliff Lee had his own problems too and ended up surrendering five runs in six innings. His 12 hits allowed tied a career high, last achieving the feat on May 3, 2009 in Detroit while a member of the Indians, five teams back in Lee's mind. But Lee was dominant early on, and the below graphic shows Meals' strike zone through three innings, so it includes all of Carpenter's pitches, plus Lee's best stretch of pitching throughout the whole game, holding St. Louis scoreless through three.

Strike zone

As you can see, Meals isn't discriminating against either pitcher, although he doesn't allow the high and inside pitch to lefties. Meals may not be following the rules of a strike zone to a T, but at least he's consistent. Carpenter struggled because Meals wasn't calling the low pitch, which is Carp's bread and butter. But if you see the zone, Meals was actually spot on in not allowing Carpenter to get away with the low pitches out of the zone. Just because the umpire didn't gift Carpenter strikes doesn't give La Russa justification to go and complain about two separate zones, calling the umpire's integrity into question (although we certainly do plenty of that here at Eye on Baseball) when Meals was actually consistent on both sides. (The remainder of the game saw more of the same in Meals' strikezone.)

2011 playoffs
Both pitchers were getting squeezed, but Lee also suffered from bad luck. Some of the Cardinals' hits were flares or balls that snuck through the infield dirt. Hey, it all counts, but it's not as if Lee was getting ripped. He was dinked and dunked to death, and the hits just kept on piling up in the fourth and sixth, with Brad Lidge extricating Lee from further trouble by getting out of a no-out, first-and-third scenario.

After the game, La Russa admitted it wasn't "a great comment to make," and excused it away by saying that everyone cares too much. He later added that the Cardinals have no choice but to adjust to the strike zone that the umpire sets. Sounds like someone is trying to avoid a fine from MLB.

Next time, La Russa would do well to keep his mouth shut from the start and allow the Cardinals to do their speaking on the field. Look at what we're discussing in the postgame, after all, instead of a hard-fought Cardinals win.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 20, 2011 8:07 am
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 18, 2011 12:29 am
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 3:12 pm

La Russa complains about strike zone

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Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 20, 2011 2:10 am

La Russa complains about strike zone

Many thanks for that tactics. Which was truthfully reliable. Permit me check the best way it operates out.

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: October 5, 2011 11:32 am

La Russa complains about strike zone

I am not a big Larussa fan and hope like I have the past few seasons that this is his last in St. Louis.That doesn't take away from the fact that he is one of the better managers of all time.The guy just simply gets it done and a lot of times it is with what I have considered sub-par teams.Without Wainwright I thought this team had no chance to make the playoffs, yet here we are still fighting the so called best team in the league in what most consider to be a very close series thus far.

Since: Oct 4, 2011
Posted on: October 4, 2011 2:23 pm

La Russa complains about strike zone

I think you need to study that diagram again because it doesn't show what you say it does.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: October 3, 2011 1:27 pm

La Russa complains about strike zone

Umpires are usually pretty consistent, and the chart appears to show a location bias, but it was pretty much called the same way for both teams.

Tony LaRussa, and the Cardinals are notorious complainers. I'm not sure how much of LaRussa's perpetual whining is sincere, and how much is some head game meant to put a motivational chip on his team's shoulder, either way, he's been crying "wolf" for so long, people don't pay much attention to him anymore. 


Since: Jun 3, 2010
Posted on: October 3, 2011 12:27 pm

La Russa complains about strike zone


You can find charts updated LIVE(!!! Awesome) at or

That graphic is from, accomplished by selecting "Normalized Strike Zone Map" for umpire that is listed at the top of each pitcher's specific graphics.

Since: Oct 16, 2006
Posted on: October 3, 2011 12:13 pm

La Russa complains about strike zone

Just curious.  Where is the article from CBS about the Philly fans cheering the fact that a baseball player almost got hit in the head by a fastball?  No article on that?

Since: Feb 6, 2008
Posted on: October 3, 2011 12:11 pm

La Russa complains about strike zone

This graphic is great.  Is this sort of chart available for all games?  If so, does anyone have a link. 

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