So, yeah, ultimately the umpire didn't cost the Rangers the game. The team ended up falling apart in the late innings and weren't touching Trevor Cahill again anyway. But the home plate umpire practically handed the A's a 3-0 lead when he decided the MLB Strike Zone wasn't the zone he wanted to call.
C.J. Wilson has been accused of nibbling at the plate to try to get calls that the umpire just isn't calling in the past so, tonight, when he finally put one directly in the zone, Josh Willingham put it in the seats. That doesn't excuse C.J. for making a bad pitch but it doesn't excuse the umpire for forcing the pitcher's hand by not calling the strike zone correctly. I hate that feeling of "Well, if the game hadn't begun practically at 3-0, what might have been different?" because it just feels like an excuse. And it probably is. But it's the worst because it's there. It exists.
Regardless, the Rangers aren't doing themselves any favors, either. They're still playing terrible baseball and as bad as umpiring is in baseball right now, they're not why the Rangers are losing. And yet, I'm tired of it. I'm tired of the Rangers playing bad baseball, but I'm tired of sitting through umpires impacting the games by not doing their jobs well. And, perhaps contrary to belief, I'm tired of complaining about umpires. I would much rather never have to feel like baseball umpiring is unfavorably impacting the game for either team ever again.
Something has to change. Baseball isn't fun right now.