It didn’t take Ángel Hernández to be well, Ángel Hernández. The veteran umpire was absent for most of the 2023 MLB season, as he recovered from a back injury, but he’s already wasted no time in acquainting himself with his notoriously bad calls. Hernández was the subject of some criticism and disgust from the Washington Nationals booth earlier this week.
And he didn’t make himself any new friends during Sunday’s Houston Astros-New York Yankees game. In fact, both teams’ broadcasters were fed up with Hernández.
During the sixth inning of Sunday’s game, Hernández called a balk on Yankees pitcher Wandy Peralta. You can audibly hear Hernández on YES Network’s broadcast saying that Peralta stepped towards the plate as he attempted a pick-off throw at first base. Hernández then awarded second base to Houston outfielder Chas McCormick.
“That’s a balk,” Yankees play-by-play voice Micahel Kay said. “Of course Ángel Hernández involved. He’s gonna impact himself on the game.”
"Of course Angel Hernandez involved he's gonna impact himself on the game" ? pic.twitter.com/e8ysrd4OrH
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) August 6, 2023
It was a balk, but that doesn’t exactly change Kay’s argument that Hernández always tries to be the central figure of the game when he’s behind the plate, whether intentional or not. That became increasingly clear just a couple of innings later when he absolutely botched a strikeout call.
With the Astros up 9-6 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Yankees utility Isiah Kiner-Falefa entered the batter’s box as the tying run at the plate with two down in the frame. Héctor Neris delivered a 2-2 pitch for a strike, or what should have been a strike. Hernández didn’t call it that way because of course he didn’t.
“And that one was not called a strike. That easily could’ve been the final out of the inning. Neris wants to know where that was.”
“We all do.”
It’s incredible that Angel Hernandez can be this bad at his job and still have a job… pic.twitter.com/7Z7qPhmjr1
— Astros Future (@AstrosFuture) August 6, 2023
Naturally, Kiner-Falefa walked and Yankees outfielder Harrison Bader hit an RBI single to cut the Houston lead to 2. Fortunately for Neris and the Astros, he was able to get out of the inning without further damage and they went on to win 9-7.
Don’t be surprised when we tell you this, but Hernández managed to piss off another analyst. This time on the postgame.
"I don't usually like talking about the umpires but…"
You'll never guess who this comment from Mike Stanton on Astros postgame is about. pic.twitter.com/0eYjhTFbro
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) August 6, 2023
“Yeah, and Héctor kind of got screwed a little bit by Ángel Hernández,” said Mike Stanton, a former MLB reliever, who now serves as an analyst for AT&T SportsNet Southwest. “It was gonna be a strike three call. He threw a split-finger fastball. I don’t usually like talking about the umpires, but Ángel flat-out missed that. That one was in the zone.”
As we all know, this will continue to be a problem. The sun will come up tomorrow, Hernández will blow another call behind the plate and Major League Baseball will do nothing about it.
Rinse and repeat.