Bobby Valentine sticks up for Adrian Gonzalez, both get tossed

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Does a double ejection count as a bonding experience?

After Adrian Gonzalez was tossed for arguing a pitch in the eighth inning Wednesday against Baltimore, Bobby Valentine took up the complaint on his behalf and was also ejected. The Red Sox went on to lose the game 5-3.

It was just the second career ejection for the usually mild-mannered Gonzalez. At least, mild-mannered on the field. Gonzalez was reportedly the ringleader in calling the meeting that asked for Valentine’s ouster as Red Sox manager, though that’s a claim he denied Wednesday.

Gonzalez’s complaint was that he was quick-pitched by Orioles reliever Pedro Strop on his groundout, a fact that Strop acknowledged after the game. “I haven’t got told that it’s illegal,” he told MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli after the game. “So, if it’s been working, I’m going to keep doing it.”

Gonzalez said the pitch should have been ruled a ball, WEEI reports.

“My problem with that is that they all interpret their own way,” Gonzalez said. “Frankie [Morales] does it earlier in the year and they call it a ball. When I talked to the umpire that day they said the hitter wasn’t ready to hit. That’s what we base it on. I wasn’t ready to hit. That’s what I went back to tell [home plate umpire Mike Everitt].”

Valentine agreed, arguing the quick pitch is “dangerous.”

Perhaps it’s a case of too little, too late, but Valentine backing up one of his best players certainly can’t hurt his cause. Too bad it came in yet another loss.

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.