The New York Mets were a frustrated group on Wednesday night. That much was clear even before veteran third baseman Todd Frazier lashed out at the umpires following a 7-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves. His comments only served to cement that feeling.
According to Frazier, the Mets clubhouse has grown fed up with what they believe to be an inconsistent and sometimes expanding strike zone, and he’s determined to find some answers. Even if that means meeting with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.
According to Newsday’s Anthony Rieber, Frazier made all of those feelings very clear during Wednesday’s postgame media session.
“I just can’t sit back and let it go anymore,” Frazier said. “It has to be said.”
Asked about Braves starter Sean Newcomb and his seven shutout innings, Frazier said: “He was getting some calls that could have gone either way. I think the frustrating thing right now is just those kind of calls that he’s getting aren’t really strikes. But credit him, he pitched a heck of a game. It’s just I’m starting to get frustrated with these umpires a little bit. I have to say something. It’s just one of those things when you come in the dugout, you’re back in and everybody’s like, ‘Man, you see that pitch?’ And it gets in your mind and you think it’s a strike and it was a ball. There’s no accountability. We’re really frustrated with these guys in these last five or six games that put you in a hole. I had two at-bats where they’re both balls and it puts you right in a hole. Like I said, the kid pitched a hell of a game. Nothing against him. He shut us down.”
“I’d like to sit down with Manfred or anybody at MLB to talk to them about it,” Frazier said. “It’s rubbing everybody the wrong way. You’ve got to be better than that.”
Frazier did at least give some credit to Braves starter Sean Newcomb. The young left-hander is prone to moments of wildness, but was effective in this outing, walking one while striking out eight over his seven scoreless innings.
Tim Britton, who covers the Mets for The Athletic, dove a little deeper into Frazier’s complaints. He compiled a couple charts that show how the calls have been going during Frazier’s at-bats the last few days.
Frazier said he's been upset last 5-6 games by umping. Here's the four games before tonight (left) and tonight (right). The oranges are called strikes: pic.twitter.com/khoSVubPxM
— Tim Britton (@TimBritton) May 3, 2018
As he notes in the tweet, the orange dots represent called strikes. There are a few pitches there that were called strikes that would be considered borderline or outright balls. Nonetheless, there’s nothing really egregious there either. Many would say those borderline pitches should be strikes anyway. We know Mets pitchers would definitely take them.
More than anything, this feels like frustration that’s boiling over, which is bound to happen during the 162-game season. Not only did the Mets loss drop them to 4-7 over their last 11 games, they were leapfrogged by the same Braves for first place in the NL East standings. Beyond that, New York lost starting pitcher Jacob deGrom to a hyperextended elbow. If deGrom misses extended time, that would be a significant blow.
Sometimes the strike zone and the umpires can be an easy thing to point at when things aren’t going well. By bringing Manfred’s name into it, perhaps there’s a feeling too that Manfred’s desire for improved pace of play is playing into the umpires calling more strikes.
Whatever the case, Frazier can expect to hear from the league office in regards to his comments. What will be interesting now is to see if Frazier remains outspoken, and if others begin to echo his words now that he’s seemingly broken the ice.
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