How did the Nats ever manage to get within one strike of the victory, TWICE?
Are you familiar with Drew Storen, at all? His slider is his best pitch, more importantly, his out pitch. If he can’t get strike calls on his slider, his out pitch on two strike counts, he’s going to have a very difficult time getting outs and if he avoids his out pitch because he’s not getting strike calls, he’s going to give up more hits and walks. It’s a great thing if you’re a pitcher who has two or three out pitches. You can overcome not getting strike calls on one of them. Drew Storen isn’t that kind of pitcher.
Getting back to the point at hand, I didn’t make up the quote from Wilbon about McGuire. If what Wilbon said about McGuire is true, it actually explains a lot. If McGuire knew this umpire had a tendency to not call sliders for strikes, that is. A bad slider from Storen’s perspective would have been low and out of the strike zone or high and hanging and hittable. Storen’s sliders that night were very good. If McGuire knows this about the home plate umpire, Cardinals hitters had two options on Storen’s sliders when they recognized them, swing over them and strike out or make weak contact and ground out or not swing, with the knowledge of this umpire’s tendencies about sliders and hope the tendency continues, which it did.
Also, Storen was asked if there was anything he could have done as far as his pitch selection goes and he quickly said no and that was absolutely true. There was nothing he could have done. He threw his best pitch, his out pitch, multiple times for strikes and didn’t get the calls. He was left with is second and third best pitches and pitchers who live on their second and third best pitches get beat a lot.