Five Biggest “What-Ifs” of the SF Giants 2020 Season
4. Rob Drake behind home plate in the final game
In the Giants final game of the season, the Padres had little left to play for. Locked into the highest seed they could, San Diego let their bullpen take on the challenge of the Giants lineup and quickly removed their starters and best players from the game.
The Giants were desperate for a victory to keep their playoff hopes alive, however. From the looks of it, both coaching staffs seemed to be making decisions like they wanted a Giants win. While Pads manager Jayce Tingler surely didn’t complain at the final result, with recent injuries to Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger, he was clearly more concerned with making sure his team was as healthy as possible.
Then came Rob Drake, an umpire best known for tweeting out a call for a civil war if President Donald Trump was impeached. Seated behind home plate, Drake’s horrendous calls would come to define the game.
Normally, it’s easier to toss bad umpiring aside, especially with balls and strikes. Both teams tend to face the same zone whether it’s good or bad. However, a closer look at Drake’s revealed a more frustrating reality for Giants fans.
That’s right, according to Umpire Scorecards, the Giants, who lost 5-4 were robbed of 1.68 expected runs while the Padres gained 0.17 expected runs from Drake’s horrendous outing. Sure a perfectly called game would not have resulted in a 5.68-4.83 Giants victory, but it shows just how stark the disparity in bad calls was between both teams.
It’s easy to wonder how that game could have gone differently with a different person behind the plate.