The late great Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas had a perfect way to describe it: “Right down the middle for a ball.”
Every Phillies’ fan knew exactly what Harry The K meant. The call in question was a strike in actuality but, for some reason known only to the umpire — be it being frozen by the pitch or sleeping on the job or just plain missing the call — it was not. Kalas called as he saw it and would make the comment as much if an opposing pitcher was being squeezed, too.
Cole Hamels of the Phillies knows all about being squeezed recently. In his last two starts, he had a number of pitches “right down the middle” that had been called balls. He had this happen at least three times during the last game with the St. Louis Cardinals and was visibly upset in the dugout about it.
There was speculation that Hamels was upset by his lack of run support, which has also been evident during the 24.2 inning scoreless streak that was broken by the Cardinals on a sacrifice fly by Matt Adams that scored Yadier Molina. Hamels walked Molina and three of the first four pitches to him were obvious strikes that were not called. Phillies announcer Larry Andersen went so far as to say that had umpire Larry Vanover, who called the balls, had a chance to see them over via replay that he, too, would have admitted he blew the calls.
Vanover, though, is not going to admit it and Hamels cannot do anything about it now. For Hamels, the focus now should be on forgetting the past and hope to run into better umpiring crews in the future.