It wasn’t a postseason game Friday, but it was the first time the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals met since Game 4 of the 2014 National League Division Series. Both clubs entered play leading their respective divisions and holding the top two records in the NL.
By the end of the night, the Dodgers were again left frustrated at Busch Stadium and out of first place in the NL West for the first time since April 15. Along the way there were moments of opportunity, stranded runners and two ejections. The first was Dodgers manager Don Mattingly getting tossed due to arguing balls and strikes after Andre Ethier struck out in the seventh inning.
Then in the home half of the inning, A.J. Ellis was ejected, also for arguing balls and strikes. Ellis, other Dodgers and Cardinals starter John Lackey all took issue at one point with home plate umpire Mike Winters. The pitch in question was called ball four from J.P. Howell to Matt Carpenter, which via DodgersUmp on Twitter, appears to have been a strike:
— Dodgers Strike Zone (@DodgersUmp) May 30, 2015
Following the Dodgers’ 3-0 loss — their fourth shutout in 10 games — Ellis elaborated on the exchange with Winters, via J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News:
He said, ‘the presentation was poor.’ I said the presentation doesn’t matter. He said ‘the presentation was poor.’ He just repeated himself. That’s what did it.”
As Ellis tells it, Winters’ comments would suggest he was critical of the catcher’s framing ability, which Ellis took offense to:
There are people on blogs and websites who can critique my framing, but I’m not going to take that from an umpire because it’s not their job to do that. Their job is to call balls and strikes based on what comes through the strike zone.”
More of Ellis’ comments can be viewed in the video below, uploaded to YouTube by Hoornstra:
With Yasmani Grandal on the seven-day concussion disabled list, Ellis started five of the last six games. He went 0-for-3 Friday with three strikeouts, including two looking.