Umpire Phil Cuzzi's strike zone during Dodgers-Twins was wildly awful
By Adam Weinrib
When even the Los Angeles Dodgers' broadcasters are openly laughing at how biased umpire Phil Cuzzi was in the 10th inning of Monday's showdown with the Twins, then MLB might have a problem.
In reality, Cuzzi wasn't "pulling for the Dodgers" (probably). He was just doing a truly bad job of assessing the big-league strike zone, and his worst work came at a time that directly benefitted Los Angeles' chances of coming back in the bottom of the inning (they did).
Alex Kiriloff of the Twins stepped up with the bases loaded and suffered from a masterclass of miscalled strikes on both corners of the plate before he was unfairly dismissed.
It left the Dodgers booth giggling, thankful, while the Twins booth was apoplectic. But how bad was Cuzzi, really?
Turns out ... very bad! And almost universally in the Dodgers' favor.
Umpire Scorecard: Phil Cuzzi was horrific in Dodgers win over Twins
Would the Dodgers have won this tight contest in extras without Cuzzi putting his stamp all over the 10th inning, helping to swing the +/- 1.39 runs in the Dodgers' favor? Honestly? Probably not.
This roller coaster game featured the Twins rallying on a three-run shot in the eighth, the Dodgers pulling back ahead in the bottom of the inning, Byron Buxton equalizing yet again in the ninth and, yes, a whole bunch of umpiring nonsense to keep things close in the first extra frame.
But never forget that the Twins went two scoreless innings with the Ghost Runner in extras before Trayce Thompson's bases-loaded walk in the 12th inning to end it. That's elite bag fumbling right there. They're basically giving you a gift -- you know, like what Phil Cuzzi gave the Dodgers in the 10th.
You're right. Too far. We're onto Tuesday night's battle, when the first-place Twins will try to strike back against the surging Dodgers, thriving without the burden of high expectations. Is it just us, or was last night's win more fun than any fight with the Padres this season?