The Astros exploded late in ALCS Game 4 to even up the series, but they owe at least a tip of the cap to home-plate umpire Laz Diaz.
Thanks to a seven-run showing in the top of the ninth inning, the Houston Astros took a 9-2 lead and maintained that through the last half of the frame to even the ALCS against the Red Sox at two games apiece.
It’s a crucial win for the Astros and, when they needed to get hits, their bats finally fully came alive.
However, if not for home-plate umpire Laz Diaz, they may never have gotten that chance in the ninth inning. Prior to the huge rally for Houston, it looked as if Boston pitcher Nathan Eovaldi had strike-three but Diaz called it a ball.
It was the very next pitch that Jason Castro put the Astros in the lead with. And, unfortunately, Diaz’s questionable calls were a theme of Game 4.
Laz Diaz left entirely too much of an imprint on the Astros’ win
ESPN’s Jeff Passan highlighted just how many calls behind the dish that Diaz was missing on Tuesday night, noting that his 21 missed ball-strike calls on the night were the most by any umpire of the MLB Postseason to this point.
To be clear, there were bad calls going both ways. But it just so happened that one of the calls that was in question happened to come at the most crucial juncture of the game.
At the end of the day, this is only going to make the calls for “robot” umpires even louder. It’s too important of a game to have this much human error playing a part in the outcome of a game. Heck, who knows what would’ve happened earlier in the game for either team if there weren’t 20 other missed calls on the night?
Laz Diaz left his imprint on Game 4 of the ALCS as the Astros evened the series. The fact that’s a main takeaway from this game is just entirely unfortunate.