Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and catcher A.J. Ellis were ejected from last night’s game against the Cardinals for arguing about the strike zone with home plate umpire Mike Winters. According to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, Ellis said he was set off after Winters criticized his ability to frame pitches:
“Their job is to call balls and strikes,” Ellis said. “It’s not their job to be a catching coach behind the plate. It’s not their job to be critical of what I’m doing. It shouldn’t even matter if there’s a catcher there or not. The ball comes through a zone and they need to take a look at that.
“People on blogs and websites can critique my framing but I’m not going to take it from an umpire because it’s not their job to do that. It’s their job to call balls and strikes based on what comes through a strike zone.”
As Harry Pavlidis wrote at ESPN.com earlier this week, Ellis rates very highly as a game-caller, but advanced metrics have him among the lowest as far as pitch framing. Winters may or may not have known that, but his comments clearly struck a nerve with Ellis. Who knows if this sort of exchange between a catcher and an umpire is unusual or not, but it’s interesting to hear an umpire being so open about how framing influences his strike zone. The numbers show it, but you never hear much from umpires about it. Probably for good reason. Then again, maybe Winters was just making excuses for an inconsistent strike zone and knew that criticizing Ellis for his framing would get under his skin.
Winters declined to respond to Ellis’ comments through a pool reporter, but said through a Cardinals official that the issue was balls and strikes and “the rest of it stays private.”
Sad news to pass along this morning, as the New York Times reports that Jerry Dior, the designer of MLB’s iconic logo, passed away earlier this month due to cancer. He was 82 years old.
Born in Brooklyn, Dior designed the “silhouetted batter” logo in 1968 while working for Sandgren & Murtha, a marketing company in New York City. It was adopted by MLB for the 1969 season, but Dior didn’t receive any royalties or public credit. In fact, he wasn’t officially recognized for the design until 40 years later in 2009. Of course, it still looks just as fresh today as it did in 1969. It’s hard to imagine baseball without it.
Here’s a quote from Dior in an interview with ESPN.com in 2008:
“It holds up today as well as it did back then,” he said. “I truly feel it’s part of baseball. So I added a little something to the game, and I’m very proud of that.”
Thank you, Jerry Dior. Our condolences to Dior’s family and friends.
Padres catcher Derek Norris struck out in his first four at-bats last night against the Pirates before coming up to bat with the bases loaded and the score tied in the bottom of the ninth inning. Then he did this…
Well, that’s one way to redeem yourself.
As Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune points out, we don’t see this sort of thing very often. Or ever:
John Lackey tossed seven scoreless innings last night as the Cardinals topped the Dodgers 3-0 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
Lackey gave up just five hits — all of them singles — while striking out nine batters and walking just one. Pitching at the major league minimum salary this season, the veteran right-hander been quite the bargain for St. Louis. He now has a 2.83 ERA and 47/17 K/BB ratio in 63 2/3 innings over his first 10 starts this season. As for Boston’s haul in that trade last July, well, let’s not rub any salt in those wounds.
Despite all the doom and gloom after losing ace Adam Wainwright to a torn Achilles, the Cardinals own the best record in baseball at 32-16 as well as the largest division lead. As for the Dodgers, they have lost back-to-back games and are now a half-game back of the Giants in the National League West.
Your Friday box scores:
Dodgers 0, Cardinals 3
Royals 8, Cubs 4
Rays 1, Orioles 2
Rockies 4, Phillies 1
Red Sox 4, Rangers 7
Nationals 2, Reds 5
Blue Jays 6, Twins 4
Marlins 4, Mets 3
White Sox 6, Astros 3 (11 innings)
Diamondbacks 7, Brewers 5
Tigers 0, Angels 2
Yankees 2, Athletics 6
Pirates 2, Padres 6
Indians 1, Mariners 2
Braves 2, Giants 4
When the Red Sox called up prospect left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez to make his major league debut tonight against the Rangers, the thought was that it would just be a spot-start in order to give the other members in the rotation an extra day of rest. Well, it’s safe to say that there could be a change of plans.
Rodriguez was nothing short of excellent tonight, holding the Rangers scoreless over 7 2/3 innings as part of a 5-1 victory. The 22-year-old gave up just three hits and two walks while striking out seven batters. Sitting in the mid-90s with his fastball, he threw 68 out of 105 pitches for strikes and induced nine swinging strikes.
It looked like Rodriguez was done after seven innings, especially after the Red Sox scored three runs in a lengthy top of the eighth, but he came back out for the bottom of the eighth and struck out the first two batters he faced before walking Robinson Chirinos and giving up a single to Delino DeShields, Jr. That was the end of the night for Rodriguez, but fortunately for him, Tommy Layne was able to get the final out to keep the scoreless outing intact.
Acquired from the Orioles last July in the Andrew Miller deal, Rodriguez rattled off a 0.96 ERA over his final six starts with Double-A Portland last season and had a 2.98 ERA and 44/7 K/BB ratio in 48 1/3 innings over his first eight starts with Triple-A Pawtucket this season. You can’t fault Baltimore for going for it, but that has a chance to be a really good deal for Boston.
While no official decision has been made yet, Red Sox manager John Farrell told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald after the game that he “would hope” Rodriguez remains in the rotation. Joe Kelly, the owner of a 6.24 ERA, figures to get the boot if he sticks around.