Cardinals have received the worst balls and strikes calls from umpires, stats show

Chicago Cubs v St. Louis Cardinals - Game One
Chicago Cubs v St. Louis Cardinals - Game One / Joe Puetz/GettyImages

If you've been watching Cardinal games this year and you think that the umpires are not favoring the Cardinals with their calls, you're right.

It is easy to blame others when your team is underachieving like the Cardinals are so far this season. But when it comes to the strike zones our hitters and pitchers have faced, it's significant, and it's alarming.

For those that are not familiar with Umpscorecards, (@UmpScorecards on Twitter) it is a website that tracks how umpire's performance for a game behind the plate. They show the umpires' overall accuracy, overall consistency, and overall favor ( which team benefited from the missed calls ) then it shows all the missed ball/strike calls and the 3 most impactful missed calls based on the situation of the game at the time of the missed call.

You can click on teams on their home site to see every team's stats and what their " total favor " is. As of the morning of April 18, the Cardinals' "total favor" is at - 4.97. In other words, the home plate umpires missed calls have favored the Cardinals' opponent by a total of 4.97 runs. The next closest team is the Astros at - 3.96, that's a large gap even this early in the season.

The Cardinals have already had 2 games this year where the missed calls favored their opponent by a whole run or more (4/12 @ COL - 1.71 and 4/13 vs PIT -1.15) Only 5 of the Cardinals' first 15 games have they had a plus total favor on missed calls, only Oakland has fewer games, totaling + 2.04 runs, also the 2nd lowest in the MLB to the A's.

As I mentioned earlier, it is early in the season, and these numbers could change drastically so it may be a bigger story later in the year, but these current numbers can still be concerning. One other reason why we could be seeing this is that the Cardinals' catchers are not elite when it comes to pitch framing.

Just looking at last season, out of all qualified catchers, backup catcher Andrew Knizner was the 8th worst catcher at pitch framing with a catch framing runs saved at -6. and the Card's new catcher Willson Contreras was league average with a catch framing runs saved at 0. To put in perspective of what the Cardinals lost, Yadier Molina was in the top 10 last year in pitch framing and the Cardinals were 8th in total favor in 2022 at + 9.79. So there could be a correlation there, if you want to get the calls you need to have a catcher that can get calls for your pitchers on pitches out of the strike zone by how they present the pitch to the umpire.

Regardless of what the problem is, whether it is the umpires' mistakes hurting the Cardinals, lack of pitch framing, or a combination of the two, you hope that the breaks start going the Cardinals way here sooner rather than later.

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