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Cubs Star Furious After MLB's Worst Umpire Calls Atrocious Game-Ending Strike

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Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo struck out looking to end the game Sunday and he was not happy about it.

He wasn’t upset at himself. Instead, his ire was focused on home plate umpire Angel Hernandez, who punched him out on a questionable 3-2 pitch by Padres reliever Kirby Yates.

And judging by the pitch tracker, Rizzo has every right to be upset.

Yates tailing fastball, which moves like a screwball, landed well outside the strike zone. It’s hard to tell exactly where it crossed the plate on the replay as it did tail sharply, but it looks like Rizzo has a real good case that it should have been ball four.

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The Padres won the game 10-6, but had Rizzo walked, it would have put runners on first and third with Addison Russell at the plate.

The Cubs are locked in a tight battle in the NL Central with the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cubs begin play Monday with a one game lead over Milwaukee, so as the dog days of August begin, every win is crucial.

“That call is unacceptable,” Rizzo said after the game, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Angel [Hernandez] told me to look at it. I looked at it, and he’s wrong. And I would like for him to confirm that. That can’t happen. That can’t happen in the major leagues, at Wrigley Field, at any field.”

Cubs manager Joe Maddon agreed, calling it an “egregiously bad call,” reported the Tribune.

Do the umpire blow this call?

“So that’s why Anthony definitely wanted to say something. He wanted to point out how bad the call was, and he talked about it with (umpire Fieldin Culbreth) as well,” Maddon said.

“We’re fighting right there. The way the wind is blowing, you get a couple more baserunners and anything can happen. … It was a tough call to end the game on.”

Rizzo expressed his frustration that he has no recourse.

“That pitch was off. It wasn’t a good spotted pitch, that pitch was off,” Rizzo said post game. “Things like that can’t happen, and they happened all game. Nothing happens (to the umpires), and I have to answer questions from (the media): ‘Why can’t you hit? Why are you striking out? Why can’t you hit in the clutch in the ninth inning?’”

“It stinks that this now has to be news. Because Angel is such a good guy,” Rizzo added.

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But Hernandez has been involved in more than a few controversial calls over the years. In 2010, the players voted him the worst umpire in the majors, according to an ESPN poll.

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He’s angered more than one player over the years, including the Yankees C.C. Sabathia earlier this year and Ian Kinsler last year.

“I’m surprised at how bad an umpire he is,” Kinsler said last year while with the Tigers, reported the Detroit News. “I don’t know how, for as many years he’s been in the league, that he can be that bad. He needs to reevaluate his career choice, he really does. Bottom line.”

Add Rizzo to the list of players who aren’t big fans of Hernandez’s work behind the plate.

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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