The Los Angeles Dodgers arrived in St. Louis with a sub-.500 road record that included being shut out in their last three road contests — during a sweep at AT&T Park May 19-21. They were blanked again Friday and emotions boiled over as manager Don Mattingly and A.J. Ellis were ejected for arguing balls and strikes.
Ellis and other Dodgers took issue with Mike Winters, Friday’s home plate umpire, on multiple occasions, and Ellis getting ejected came after he said Winters critiqued the catcher’s presentation of the ball — essentially saying his framing of the pitch was subpar.
Some frustration washed away as the Dodgers ended their road scoreless streak with a big sixth inning against Michael Wacha Saturday night, but old habits die hard, and they were without a run until Joc Pederson’s eighth-inning solo home run on Sunday.
Despite their offensive futility, the Dodgers had the go-ahead run at the plate with two outs in the ninth. After issuing back-to-back walks, Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal got ahead in the count 0-1 against Justin Turner on a swinging strike.
Rosenthal’s next pitch was called a ball before the third and fourth of the at-bat were called strikes two and three to end the game. Turner took exception to the second strike, had a brief chat with home plate umpire Marty Foster, and grew irate when Foster called him out on strikes.
The two went face-to-face and Turner was ejected by Foster, though the game had already concluded; Turner will incur a fine as a result of getting tossed. The Dodgers’ utility man explained his frustration and conversation with Foster in a postgame interview, via Time Warner Cable’s SportsNet LA:
Strike two, I felt like was off the plate. I asked him, and he said that was a good pitch. I asked if that was as far as it goes, and he said, ‘Yeah, that’s it.’ Then the next pitch [called strike three] was even further out. It’s the second time here against the same guy in a big spot. It happened last year in the playoffs against Rosenthal. It would be nice for the umpires not to have a decision in it.”
Turner went on to add he didn’t understand why Rosenthal was given the benefit of the doubt after lacking control against the two prior batters faced:
That was my point to him [Foster]. The guy [Rosenthal] has no idea where it’s going. It’s not like he’s out there spotting up and locating. He walks two guys to bring the tying run to the plate and all of a sudden, we’re going to give him pitches off the plate and reward the guy who doesn’t know where it’s going? It doesn’t seem right. When you take a good pitching staff and they don’t have to throw strikes, that makes them a lot better pitching staff.”
Although the Dodgers weren’t shut out, the one run scored in Sunday’s loss means they’ve pushed across just six runs in their last six road games, unsurprisingly going 1-5 in that stretch. Beginning Monday is a four-game series at Coors Field, which includes a doubleheader Tuesday, before the Dodgers start a seven-game homestand Thursday.