HOUSTON – The Rangers were not thrilled about the strike zone in Thursday's game and that's going to happen and it's uncontrollable.
What worries manager Chris Woodward more: changing the stigma that the Rangers are willing to eliminate pitches outside the strike zone, which can create an inherent bias among referees that the club is simply not being stubborn when making closed pitches .
Woodward acknowledged being unhappy with what he saw as inconsistencies in the Dan Iassogna attack area.
"I do not like it when it's not consistent, that's all," Woodward said. "I have no problem, things are the way they are. I do not think it's intentional when it clearly favors one team over the other. But it's really frustrating for our guys, especially when our offense and our pitchers largely understand the value of each pitch.
"I have full respect for all the referees; It's not an easy job, "Woodward added." They're going to make mistakes. But I just realized that we have a reputation. … Joey Votto takes a pitch just off the plate, it's a ball. Joey Gallo takes that pitch and it's a strike. It should not matter who is hitting, what equipment is, should not matter. Just because one team is supposed to be better than the other, does not mean they are better and that closed pitches must go their way. I'm not saying that was the case last night, I've seen it and they're human. "
According to Brooksbaseball.net, which presents plots against the strike zone, it appears that Minor had eight pitches or touched the edge of the strike zone that were called balls and one outside the zone that was called strike. Conversely, according to the same chart, Houston's starter, Wade Miley, had eight throws off the edges that were called strikes, while three pitches on or at the edges of the area were called balls.
And, according to fangraphs.com, which tracks the discipline of the plate, Woodward is right that the Rangers pursue less this year. They have the tenth lowest pursuit rate, oscillating in pitches outside the zone 28.7 percent of the time. A year ago, they had the 13th highest pursuit rate with 31.5 percent.
Woodward said he would not take any action, such as sending a video of releases and calls to the MLB offices.
"I would only do that if I thought something was intentional," he said.