World Series

Hours later, Harper still confused by quick ejection

Hours later, Harper still confused by quick ejection

Hours later, Harper still confused by quick ejection originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

DENVER — Three hours later, Bryce Harper was still confused by what happened, why it happened … he was having a hard believing it actually happened at all.

Harper was ejected after striking out on three pitches to end the top of the first inning Friday night at Coors Field. The second pitch he was thrown by lefty Ty Blach was low-and-in off the plate but called a strike by home plate umpire Brian Walsh. Harper took issue with the strike, called time and said a few words to Walsh. He struck out swinging on the next pitch and continued the conversation after the half-inning.

Harper spiked his helmet while talking to Walsh. It wasn't a violent fling, and his demeanor didn't change. He plays with a ton of emotion but this wasn't one of those instances. He just looked like a player trying to have a conversation with an umpire.

About 20 seconds after the game went to commercial, Walsh tossed Harper, who reacted in shock. So did manager Rob Thomson, who came out to argue and make sure Harper didn't get himself in any additional trouble.

"I mean, I wasn't really that upset," Harper said. "I spiked my helmet but that wasn't frustration from the call. Then I just kinda asked him, 'Hey, I don't believe that was a strike but where do you have it, just so I know.' And he kinda was just like, 'Ehh.' And I was like no, where do you have it? Then he threw me out. I told him I just wanted to have a conversation with you. I didn't scream or anything really. Then (crew chief Vic Carapazza) came over and said what he had to say.

"I'm not trying to get thrown out in the first inning in Colorado, obviously. It's a bummer, man. I could've hit a double in the gap or homer and the game's changed. I don't know, just kinda bummed that it even happend because I don't feel like it should have."

The Phillies lost the game, 3-2, in 11 innings. They scored twice in the top of the fifth on solo home runs by Nick Castellanos and Edmundo Sosa and were one out away from finishing off a one-run win when Jose Alvarado was taken deep by pinch-hitting backup catcher Jacob Stallings. The Rockies won in the 11th on Ezequiel Tovar's bases-loaded single off Gregory Soto.

Aside from Sosa and Castellanos, the Phillies went 4-for-32 without an extra-base hit. It might have been a different night if Harper and not Johan Rojas was in the No. 3 spot in the lineup over the final 10 innings.

"I feel like John Tumpane, Alan Porter, Pat Hoberg, even Vic at second tonight, there's professionals in this league and there's guys that are really good at their job and they understand it," Harper said. "I guess 120 (Walsh's umpire number), he didn't understand it. It is what it is. Just bummed out we lost that game. It could have been something different if I'm in the lineup. Maybe not, but you never know."

Kind of a helpless feeling?

"A hundred percent," he said, "because you're not part of the game. I didn't even feel like it kinda happened. I was kinda in here sitting thinking, man, I should be out there. When I scream or yell, you guys know. I get upset sometimes and show my emotion but I really wasn't that upset about the whole situation. It's the first inning."

This was Carapazza's explanation to a pool reporter:

"Bryce just kept arguing about balls and strikes and, at the end of the day, equipment violation is basically a big warning and if you continue to talk about pitches, then Brian had to handle it. So that's it really.

"… It's just arguing pitches and we will send a detailed report in tomorrow, send it to the league and then we go from there, but for us, it's a general balls and strikes and that's it."

The Phillies are 37-15 after the loss, six games ahead of the Braves in the NL East. They've dropped just five games over the last four weeks and those losses were by 1, 1, 1, 1 and 2 runs with three of them in extra innings.

Losses happen. Blown saves happen. This was Alvarado's first of the season. The Phillies didn't play poorly, they just didn't hit, and Alvarado threw one bad pitch that Stallings ambushed.

"Everything's going to happen," said Orion Kerkering, who retired five of the six hitters he faced to take the Phillies from the sixth inning to the eighth with a one-run lead. "I know the time's gonna come for me sooner or later, too, it's a long season. That's just baseball."


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