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#pounditWednesday, September 27, 2023

Astros benefit from blown strike three call in crucial Angels at-bat

A Taylor Ward at-bat

The Houston Astros got away with one on Thursday night.

The Astros played the division rival Los Angeles Angels at home in the first game of their four-game series. With Houston holding a 4-2 lead in the sixth inning, reliever Hector Neris was facing Angels leadoff hitter Taylor Ward in a bases-loaded situation. On a 3-2 count, Neris missed inside with a sinker … but was given the strike three call by home plate umpire Stu Scheurwater.

Take a look.

Angels manager Phil Nevin was absolutely incensed and got ejected when he came out of the dugout to give Scheurwater an earful. Mark Gubicza, the TV color commentator for the Angels, also expressed his disbelief on the air, saying repeatedly, “That’s not even close to a strike.”

The pitch by Neris was both low and inside, but Scheurwater apparently got fooled by catcher Yainier Diaz’s frame job. So instead of the Angels drawing the bases-loaded walk to make the game 4-3 (with the mighty duo of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani set to bat next), it was simply a huge second out for the Astros (which allowed them to settle down and change up the strategy). Trout would line out in the next at-bat, and the Angels got nothing out of that inning as the Astros went on to win 5-2.

The Angels are chasing the Astros in the standings for a Wild Card spot, so Scheurwater might have just altered the trajectory of their entire season with that awful strike three call. This may remind some Angels fans of another rough call that went against them a couple of seasons ago.


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