In the midst of another increasingly lost season (copyright RandBallsStu) of their own, the Twins don't need any extra nudge from the umpires in diving toward 90 losses yet again.
But they are apparently getting it. Oh, are they getting it.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the professional scouting service Inside Edge has tracked all the ball-strike calls in 2013 and determined umpires incorrectly call about 8 percent of them. That might not sound like a huge number, but let's say there are 300 pitches in a game ... that's 24 missed calls, many of them at potentially important times (or sneakily important times, like turning a would-be 2-2 count into a 3-1 count that completely alters an at-bat, or vice-versa).
In any event, the breaks of course go both ways. And according to the crunched numbers, they often go against the Twins.
Per the Inside Edge data, the Twins have benefited from missed ball-strike calls an MLB-low 44.3 percent of the time. The next lowest is the Cubs at 45.7. Conspiracy theorists should note the Brewers -- rivals to the east and once connected to commissioner Bud Selig -- are the highest, benefitting from blown ball-strike calls 55.3 percent of the time.
Another fact: The study ranked players and pitchers who were helped and hurt the most by the missed calls. No. 5 on the list for pitchers hurt the most is Kyle Gibson, who got called strikes on only 79.2 percent of pitches taken that were in the strike zone. In other words, home plate umps missed more than 1 of every 5 called strikes that Gibson could have gotten during his troubled stint with the Twins.
A conspiracy theorist could also wonder if Ron Gardenhire's reputation for ejections and general chirping plays a subliminal role in this.
More likely, though, it's just bad luck -- in a season when the Twins can use all the good luck they can get.
h/t: David Brauer for the link.