Oh, you need another reason that Buck Showalter is a shoo in for AL Manager of the Year? Well here you go.
Not only does the Baltimore Orioles skipper keep in mind the pitcher/hitter match ups, players statistics in different ball parks or ground ball/fly ball numbers when putting together a daily lineup or series pitching rotation, but he also adjusts to data on umpires.
It turns out, according to the Baltimore Sun’s Jonthan Pitts, that Buck has a spreadsheet on a wall in his office that ranks umpires by how greatly they favor pitchers or hitters.
The top name on the list is Brian Runge, an ump known for calling a big zone; lower down is veteran Joe West, whose zone is seen as smaller, his ball-strike distribution more even.
When Runge’s behind the plate, Showalter says, he might tell hitters to “go up there swinging.” When West is back there, “we know we’ll have to throw the ball over the plate.”
Showalter is known to tweak his pitching rotation when he sees the umpiring schedule for the week.
Does this mean that Buck knew Mark Teixeira would be called out at first on a game ending double play by umpire Jerry Meals on Saturday?