By Dan Roche

BOSTON (CBS) – Let’s begin with the premise that the strike zone has gotten smaller over the last several years as umpires have been scrutinized more and more by the powers above.

However, I haven’t seen as small a strike zone in a long time as the one we saw Tuesday night in the Red Sox 4-3 win over the Twins in Minnesota. Home plate umpire Tim McClelland, who has a great reputation throughout the game, wouldn’t give Red Sox starter Erik Bedard anything in the first inning.

Bedard threw 37 pitches in an inning in which he gave up two runs on just one hit.

Coming into the start… Bedard had allowed just 30 walks in 96.1 innings this season, or roughly one walk every three innings. He walked four Twins in that 1st inning! Four!

Meanwhile, according to Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune of Minnesota, coming into the game the Twins had drawn only a single walk in their previous 182 plate appearances.

Again, they had four in eight plate appearances in that first inning!

I went back and watched each if the 37 pitches Bedard threw in the inning. In my estimation, 10-12 of the pitches McClelland called balls could/should have been strikes.

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That means Bedard could have thrown maybe six instead if five innings, or could have allowed just one run instead of two. Lots of different things. And, the lack of strike calls can definitely affect the way you pitch,

I guess just chalk it up to a bad night for McClelland. And give credit for Bedard and the Sox for hanging in and getting the win.


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