Bryce Harper’s on-base streak as a Phillie ended at 21 games Monday night, and his evening ended in the top of the fourth inning when he was ejected by home-plate umpire Mark Carlson. It was all part of a miserable night for the Phillies, as they sat through a 95-minute rain delay before managing just three hits in a 5-1 loss to the New York Mets at Citi Field.
The loss left the Phillies (12-10) in a tie for first place with the Mets and evened the season series at 2-2 with two games left to be played in this series on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Carlson did not eject Harper until long after the Phillies right fielder had returned to the dugout following a called third strike from Mets pitcher Steven Matz. Manager Gabe Kapler and Harper rushed the field after the ejection. Kapler said he did not think the ejection was warranted.
“I thought there was normal chirping from the dugout that is in every dugout every single night,” Kapler said. “It was no different. Our dugout did not agree with a lot of Mark’s calls, and I don’t think [Harper] should have been ejected.”
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The Phillies’ only run came on a fourth-inning home run from Rhys Hoskins as the offense wasted another quality start from Jake Arrieta, who allowed four runs (only three earned) in six innings. Arrieta has pitched at least six innings and allowed three earned runs or fewer in all five of his starts this season, but his latest outing will be remembered most for what he said afterward.
“We need him in right field,” Arrieta said when asked about Harper’s fourth-inning ejection. “I don’t care how bad the umpire is. [Carlson] wasn’t great for either side. I’m out there trying to make pitches. He misses some calls. So what. We need [Harper] out there. We were flat from start to finish. Two-hour delay, it doesn’t matter. We have to be ready to play. We weren’t, and it showed.”
Arrieta also said that Harper’s ejection should have provided an emotional boost for the rest of the team, but it did not.
“We were flat,” the pitcher said. “The dugout was flat, the defense wasn’t good, and we didn’t throw the ball well as a staff overall and we got beat. We started at 8:45, and I don’t think our guys were ready to play. We have to come out tomorrow ready to play. It’s troubling, yeah. I’m out there doing everything I can to win the game. I need my guys behind me, and they weren’t.”
Our Scott Lauber gave the blow-by-blow details of Harper’s ejection and the harsh words spoken by Arrieta after the game. Harper’s postgame reaction was essentially to agree with the veteran pitcher that he cannot afford to be ejected in a vital game against a division rival.
Perhaps the most amazing thing of all about Harper’s ejection was the fact that he was the first Phillie to be thrown out of a game since June 16, 2015. We’re going to make you click on Lauber’s story to find out who that player was.
The Phillies’ list of players on the injured list because of hamstring injuries is up to three. Jean Segura, Odubel Herrera and Scott Kingery have all been lost to hamstring ailments. Kapler said he thinks it is purely coincidental, but the team is examining the injuries anyway in case there is something they can do to prevent them in the future.
Tonight: Zach Eflin against the Mets’ Zack Wheeler in a battle to see who spells their first name properly, 7:10 p.m.
Tomorrow: Vince Velasquez vs. Jason Vargas in series finale with Mets, 7:10 p.m.
Thursday: Aaron Nola opens homestand vs. Miami’s Caleb Smith, 7:05 p.m.
Friday: Jerad Eickhoff vs. Jose Urena, 7:05 p.m.
Sunday: It’s the Phillie Phanatic’s birthday, 1:05 p.m.
The Phillies were 7-2 after nine games and putting up impressive offensive numbers. They hit .263 with a .371 on-base percentage and .855 OPS in those first nine games and averaged 6.3 runs. They also had 15 home runs and 34 extra-base hits during that span. In 13 games since, the Phillies have hit .244 with a .326 on-base percentage and .721 OPS and averaged 4.6 runs. They have hit 15 home runs and have just 43 extra-base hits in their last 13 games.
Predictably, the pitching has also taken a turn for the worse during the Phillies’ 5-8 stretch. The staff ERA was 3.83 during the first nine games and is 4.76 over the last 13. The pitchers have allowed 140 hits and 44 walks in their last 13 games for a 1.48 WHIP after posting a 1.28 WHIP in the team’s first nine games.
Send questions by email or on Twitter @brookob.
Question: Cesar Hernandez has been a solid player for the Phillies but he will never be an All-Star caliber player. He strikes out too much, doesn’t use his speed enough and loses focus on the bases.
Scott Kingery deserves to play everyday at second base, his natural position. when he comes back form the Injured List. Hernandez is due to be a free agent after the season. What are the chances Cesar will be traded before the trade deadline in July?
Greg S., via email
Answer: I believe the Phillies are a better team with both Cesar Hernandez and Scott Kingery on the roster. Kingery, before his hamstring injury, was showing that he could handle the very difficult role of playing multiple positions, and with him on the bench, the Phillies have more depth than they would if he was playing second base and Hernandez was no longer here.