Jerry Crawford's big ALDS role
The veteran umpire, who calls the smallest strike zone in MLB, could decide NYY-MIN
Umpires have been in the spotlight all season, from Joe West's comments about the pace and style of games between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees to Jim Joyce's blown call costing Detroit's Armando Galarraga a perfect game. But on the 25th anniversary of Dom Denkinger's controversial call in the 1985 World Series, the scrutiny of assignments and performance of umpires goes to another level in the postseason.
Perhaps the most interesting assignment for the League Division Series will see Jerry Crawford serving as crew chief for the Yankees' series against the Minnesota Twins.
Crawford is considered to have the smallest strike zone in the major leagues; this season, among all umpires, he has the lowest strikeout to walk ratio at 1.55, well below the league average is 2.17 strikeouts per walk. Conversely, Brian O'Nora, who is on Crawford's crew for the series, has an average of 2.50 strikeouts per walk.
While the stats tell one story, the graphic of an umpire's strike zone can offer an enhanced look at exactly how umps see the strike zone and what that means for the two teams when specific men in blue are behind the plate.
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