Jonathan Papelbon may have taken the loss as the Phillies were defeated 4-3 by the Dodgers on Monday night, but he is not taking the blame. That blame, he says, belongs to home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn. In a 3-3 tie in the ninth, Papelbon allowed a lead-off triple on a 2-2 pitch to Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon. Papelbon thought he had strike three on the previous pitch, and naturally the next hitter, Elian Herrera, belted a single to score Gordon and give the Dodgers a 4-3 lead. After the game, Papelbon was furious.
“Doesn’t surprise me,” Papelbon said when he was informed that Reyburn is a Triple-A umpire filling in at the Major League level. “He probably needs to go back to Triple-A. You’re up in the big leagues to do a good job and when you don’t do a good job you should be demoted or fired. It’s just like anybody’s job. If I don’t do my job, I go down to Triple-A. There’s no room for that up here. It’s not a knock on the umpires. It’s the integrity of the game. You want to be able to go out there and play the game the way it should be played.”
Papelbon said there were bad calls all night long against both teams, which would in theory balance the playing field. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly and bench coach Trey Hillman were ejected earlier in the game for arguing balls and strikes. When he retired the final batter in the ninth, Papelbon confronted Reyburn and was seen yelling, “You know you messed that call up.”
“I thought he was terrible – all day,” he said. “It wasn’t just that pitch. All I wanted to know was if he could throw me out for what I was thinking, and if he could, I thought he sucked. It’s that simple.”
Typically this would be the point where we call for expanded instant replay, but I’m afraid that wouldn’t help here. Bad calls on balls and strikes are as much a part of the game as Dubble Bubble, and it’s going to be that way for a long time.
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