Umpire Phil Cuzzi under fire for poor performance in Dodgers-Twins game
Phil Cuzzi continues to make his case for the new most unpopular umpire in Major League Baseball.
Cuzzi, who was behind home plate for Monday’s contest between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins, came under fire for a number of bad calls that altered the trajectory of the game. The most glaring instance came in the top of the tenth inning when Twins outfielder Alex Kirilloff was at the plate with the bases loaded. After already scoring a run in the inning to go up 8-7, Minnesota was threatening to blow the game open.
The one run was all that the Twins got though, as Kirilloff went down on two very questionable strike calls by Cuzzi (one on the right side of the plate to start the at-bat and one on the left side of the plate to finish the at-bat).
Welcome to the Phil Cuzzi show pic.twitter.com/0Edd9mm6bq
— CJ Fogler account may or may not be notable (@cjzero) May 16, 2023
Even the Dodgers’ own announcers sounded dumbfounded by the strikes Cuzzi had called (on pitches that weren’t even especially well-framed by catcher Will Smith either).
Dodgers announcers on the same sequence:
"Boy oh boy, Phil Cuzzi just made being a Major League hitter way harder than it already is."
"Both sides of the plate were an extra three inches. We shall take it. I mean, that's not even close."
"That's impossible for a hitter" pic.twitter.com/aL0oCQRZpG
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) May 16, 2023
Minnesota would leave the bases loaded after Michael A. Taylor flied out in the next at-bat to end the half-inning. The Dodgers then scored a run to tie the game in the bottom of the tenth and won it in the bottom of the 12th on a Trayce Thompson walk.
The Twins intentionally walked Max Muncy to load the bases and proceeded to walk Trayce Thompson to lose the game pic.twitter.com/KnhojeCEym
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) May 16, 2023
The umpiring crew also had a big miss in the eighth inning when first base umpire Shane Livensparger called a David Peralta grounder down the line fair when it was clearly foul. The missed call resulted in an RBI double for Peralta to put the Dodgers up 8-7 (forcing the Twins to tie the game in the top of the ninth and ultimately send the game into extra innings).
David Peralta Double? pic.twitter.com/UWRGUZBNsJ
— Mad Choriyama (@MadChoriyama) May 16, 2023
For Cuzzi specifically, a graphic from @UmpScorecards on Twitter showed how rough his performance calling balls and strikes was (all in all favoring the Dodgers by an extra 1.39 runs, a huge swing in an extra-inning game).
— Umpire Scorecards (@UmpScorecards) May 16, 2023
Cuzzi was already involved in a high-profile controversy earlier this season. The game that Cuzzi called on Monday won’t win him any new fans either.