Daily Distractions: This is a strike now, home opener tonight, Jamie Moyer comeback?

Here’s the set-up: Two outs, two strikes, bottom of the ninth inning. Joe Nathan is pitching for the Texas Rangers with a 5-4 lead over the Tampa Bay Rays. Nathan is stuck on 299 career saves. Home-plate umpire Marty Foster has a dinner bet riding on Nathan picking up number 300 tonight and his reservations are for 20 minutes after the final pitch.

OK, we made that last part up … or did we? Here’s where the pitch was relative to the strike zone (h/t MSimonESPN):

Joe Nathan strike

And here’s what the pitch looked like in real life:

Joe Nathan strike

Wait, watch that clip again.

 

Foster’s call reeked so foul of dinner-reservation theories, he second-guessed himself.

“I saw the pitch and, of course I don’t have the chance to do it again, but if I did, I wouldn’t call that pitch a strike,” Foster told a pool reporter after the game. “Joe [Maddon, the Rays' manager] was not violent. Joe was very professional. He was frustrated and I understand. He acted probably the best he can under that situation.”

Nathan didn’t disagree.

“It’s pretty safe to say we got fortunate, but I’ve seen plenty of them go the other way,” Nathan noted diplomatically. “I threw the pitch where I wanted to. He just didn’t offer at it like I wanted him to. Did I draw it up this way for my 300th? No, but I’ll take it.”

Not only did Maddon tweet about it, he still hasn’t deleted the tweet a day later.

The pitch wasn’t even framed well by catcher A.J. Pierzynski, as Jeff Sullivan points out in a very detailed FanGraphs piece.

Protect the outside corner as you peruse these links:

• The Angels’ home opener is, of course, tonight at 7 p.m. They play the A’s, in what I predicted last week would be a matchup of the two best teams in the American League West at season’s end.

• The Angels’ farm system has nowhere to go but up after four of its five affiliates finished under .500 last year, MLB.com writes.

• ICYMI: The outdoor hockey game at Dodger Stadium between the Ducks and Kings is on.

• 50-year-old Jamie Moyer has a garden, a puppy, and a notion that he can still pitch.

• It must take a lot for the Miami Marlins to kick a fan out of the park, but this guy did make a pretty sweet T-shirt.

• There’s a new Flaming Lips album, and 20 seconds in I’m wondering if they consulted Thom Yorke. KCRW has the preview:

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.