The Phillies are 1-4 on their current seven-game road trip after a listless 5-1 loss in Queens last night. A suspect defense was partly to blame, but the primary culprit was a flat offense that couldn’t get anything going against Mets starter Steven Matz less than a week after knocking him out of a start in Philadelphia without making an out.
The Phillies were already without the services of Odubel Herrera, Jean Segura, and Scott Kingery due to injury, and Bryce Harper was quickly out of the lineup after being ejected in the fourth inning by home plate umpire Mark Carlson, setting up this exchange, which you can view after the jump.
There were some on-field fireworks at Citi Field as both Gabe Kapler and Bryce Harper argue with home plate umpire Mark Carlson.
Bryce Harper has been ejected from the game. pic.twitter.com/KyM0M8GsMB
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) April 23, 2019
Harper, who had struck out in his only two at-bats of the night, took exception with Carlson’s strike zone after his second strikeout and then again from the bench later in the inning after a 1-1 pitch to Cesar Hernandez that appeared high.
I’m sure there are plenty of people this morning that appreciated Harper’s chirping and subsequent explosion, but one person who definitely didn’t was Jake Arrieta, who had some critical comments after the game about the ejection, the team’s defense, and its energy level:
— Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) April 23, 2019
Here’s Arrieta’s full comments, along with what Harper and Gabe Kapler had to say:
The city is currently infatuated with Harper, so I expect many fans to have positive takes about his passion and how he’s so competitive and just wants to win. While all of that may be true, it’s hard to argue with what Arrieta has to say here. After a 4-0 start to the season, the Phillies are only 8-10 over their last 18 games, and managed only three hits last night, spoiling one of the rare quality starts the team has gotten this season. The Phillies have also only managed 15 total runs over their last five games. It’s true that sometimes a good tirade can wake guys up, but they managed exactly zero hits after Hernandez finished his interrupted at-bat with a single, going quietly over the final five frames.
They have played unfocused baseball in recent days, which includes ridiculous base running gaffes and suspect defense, so, yeah, Arrieta is right. Is it weak that he seems to absolve himself of any blame? Maybe, but the short-handed Phillies do need Harper out there, and Arrieta, who watched his team’s promising start go up in flames last season, probably doesn’t want to watch a repeat performance this summer, so good on him for speaking the truth.
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