Through the first seven days of July, there has been a combination of 16 MLB managers and players sent to the showers by raging baseball umpires, which is nearly half of what occurred in June when there were 34 ejections.
Are the umps getting testy? Are the players and skippers finding more miscues? Is it just the summer heat getting to everyone in the ballpark?
According to Umpire Fantasy Ejection League, using their criteria, of the 15 calls that led to ejections (two individuals were tossed on the same play), nine calls by the umpires were correct, five were incorrect and one was inconclusive.
So what’s the deal with “blue” and what can sports bettors learn from testy umpires? Here’s a look at the most trigger-happy umps and how bettors should be handicapping their assignments:
Rob Drake (Six ejections)
Most of Drake’s work came on June 5, when Arizona and Washington pitchers decided it would be great fun to plunk one another after being warned. He sent four people off the diamond that day. His work is fairly down the middle with home teams 9-8 when he’s behind the plate and has a flipped 8-9 over/under mark on totals. Drake is in the lower 15 percent of umpires calling walks at 5.5 per game, yet he’s in the Top 20 (19th) in runs scored at 9.0.
Bob Davidson (Five ejections)
Davidson is known for his temper, going from simmering to hot, and has tossed the most folks in baseball uniforms over the past five seasons (34). Davidson is 14th among umpires calling strikes at over 14 per contest. He’s similar to Drake, with home teams going 10-9 when he’s calling balls and strikes and 9-10 over/under this season. Though the sampling is small, Davidson has been a favorite of those wagering on home underdogs in the +111-to-+151 range with a 4-1 mark.
Joe West (Five ejections)
“Country” Joe West is an old-school ump (33 years) and doesn’t take guff from anyone. He’s jettisoned 40 individuals to the clubhouse since 2005 and is considered “lazy” by professional sports bettors, who closely track umpire data. This season, West has had an affinity to the over, sporting a 12-6-2 over/under record. Watching West call balls and strikes is like being stuck in McDonald’s drive-thru lane, since he is in the top 20 percent of pitches per contest at nearly 300.
Angel Hernandez (Four ejections)
You could make the case that Mr. Hernandez was given an inappropriate first name, since he is third in ejections the last seven years. To his credit, he’s consistent, averaging between four and seven “your outta here’s” a season. Hernandez has shown a preference towards low-scoring games, currently in a tie for fourth place in fewest runs per contest at 6.9. However, his assignments have read like a who’s-who of baseball pitchers. Baseball bettors should note that Hernandez is 8-2 this season when the home team is priced at +110 to -120.
Alfonso Marquez (Four ejections)
Despite being fairly high in running players and managers this season, handicappers tell me Marquez is “as average as they come.” The numbers agree with that assessment. Marquez is towards the middle in punch-outs and free passes per game. The 8.89 runs per game scored is a bit above normal, while he is 9-8 over/under on totals. The only oddity about Marquez would appear to be an anomaly, as matchups of right-handed starters have yielded a 7-2-1 over/under mark.
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