Justin Verlander hasn't been thrilled with plate-umpire Tim Welke's strike zone tonight.
Does Verlander have a case? Here's the strike zone for his pitches, via BrooksBaseball.net:
You see what I see? If you believe PITCHf/x -- and from what I've noticed, whatever tool FOX is using -- Verlander's lost six strikes that were inside the strike zone, while gaining none that were outside the zone. When you think about the fine line between success and failure for a pitcher in the major leagues, you might guess how damaging that could be, having a six-strike deficit in just three innings.
Do umpires miss close pitches? All the time. Does this plot suggest that Welke is intentionally squeezing Verlander? Of course not. What it suggests is that when you look at the pitches Welke's missed, the luck has gone completely against Verlander so far. That luck will probably turn around, but the Tigers have to hope it's not too late.