The Giants' season ended on a controversial called third strike Sunday, when home plate umpire Rob Drake ruled that Austin Slater struck out looking for the final out of a 5-4 loss to the San Diego Padres.
Although the Giants didn't blame Drake for the defeat and, thus, their failure to make the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year, a couple of sources tasked with evaluating umpires' performance argued that San Francisco would've had reason to do so.
The Twitter account Umpire Scorecards, using Fangraphs' Umpire Runs Created (uRC) metric, determined that Drake's 29 missed pitch calls gave the Padres nearly two full runs of run expectancy.
Umpire Auditor, another Twitter account, determined that Drake incorrectly called 27 pitches. Two called strikes, in particular, stood out as especially egregious.
Drake's called strike against Wilmer Flores in the bottom of the eighth inning -- which occurred one pitch before he clubbed a solo home run that cut the Padres' lead to a single run -- was off the plate by nearly six inches in Umpire Auditor's estimation. No other umpire called a strike as far off the plate Sunday, according to the account.
After missing out on the eighth and final NL playoff spot by a tiebreaker, the Giants can point to any one of their 22 losses to NL West rivals as the difference between ending a playoff drought and heading home before September ended.
But given the context heading into Sunday and what transpired within -- and outside of -- Drake's strike zone, one defeat will sting more than others as the Giants' offseason begins.