You may be wondering why Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roberto Hernandez is doing his impression of a T-rex wearing a baseball glove in the accompanying photo. Well, as it turns out, that isn’t what he’s doing at all.
Actually, the anguished expression on Hernandez’s face is his immediate reaction to having just hit Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro with a pitch during Friday's loss. Sure, Castro had taken the right-hander deep for a two-run blast his last time up, but that was the extent of the damage to this point. As Hernandez was readying to finish the sixth inning, clearly, it was no time to throw at a batter.
Home plate umpire Mark Ripperger apparently saw something different from the rest of the baseball-watching world, despite the fact that the whole event transpired right in front of his face. Four seconds later, sans warnings for either club, Ripperger tossed Hernandez from the game.
Ripperger did this seemingly on cue from the Cubs bench. He notices Castro’s reaction, visibly—somewhat understandably—exasperated. Then, the ump peers into the visitors’ dugout, and suddenly—out of nowhere—decides Hernandez is gone.
Naturally, Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg came out to protest the decision. Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley joined the debate as well, while third base umpire Gary Cederstrom arrives on the scene like riot police.
Eventually, Ryno excused himself. Well, sort of.
Check out the video for yourself over at MLB.com.
Let’s face it. This whole fiasco didn’t have any meaningful outcome on the game. The Phillies bullpen didn’t surrender so much as another run. The Phillies’ offense only managed one. Final was 2-1. In the grand scheme, the ejections are a non-story.
How does something like this even happen though? Why is this umpire, or any umpire, ejecting a pitcher from a game under these circumstances? It’s not the end of the world, but clearly a situation Major League Baseball should review with the official in question.
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