John Kruk was not a happy camper during the Phillies’ comeback win
“Now, John, watch it," Phillies announcer Tom McCarthy warned John Kruk as he began to get upset at the umpires.
As an announcer, John Kruk has never been confused with a ray of sunshine. But the NBC Sports Philadelphia analyst was downright miserable during the Phillies’ extra-innings win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday.
The misery began in the seventh inning, when Kruk was apoplectic after home plate umpire Junior Valentine forced Phillies pitcher Connor Brogdon to move his rosin bags off the mound. Kruk got so angry, he seemingly came close to cursing on air, causing play-by-play announcer Tom McCarthy to toss out a nervous, “Now, John, watch it.”
“Is he throwing sidearm? Is his hand dragging the ground? Is his knuckles grabbing the ground? Then how the hell does that rosin bag cause a distraction?” an angry Kruk asked during the broadcast. “Un-frickin’-real.”
Fast-forward to the top of the tenth inning, with the score tied, 5-5.
Phillies manager Rob Thomson explained after the game that Diamondbacks infielder Josh Rojas was warned twice by Valentine over attempts to bait Phillies reliever Craig Kimbrel into getting set early, which would have been a pitch clock violation. According to the new MLB rules, pitchers can’t come set before the batter’s becoming alert in the box, the so-called “Scherzer Rule.”
Moments later, it appeared something similar happened, but the umpire said it was a pitch clock violation on Kimbrel, and awarded Rojas a ball. The delay and the lack of clarity in what was going on caused Kruk to just about lose it in the booth.
“Ah, dear crap almighty,” Kruk said. “What a joke. What a circus this game’s turned into.
“What the hell’s Kimbrel supposed to do? They had a meeting for 15 minutes, and he steps on the mound and they call. … This is a joke. They keep making up rules until no one knows what’s going on.”
Kruk wasn’t done. After the game, he and McCarthy interviewed Alec Bohm, who hit a bases-loaded, walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning to win the game. Naturally, the incident during the top of the 10th came up.
“I didn’t know what was going on the whole time,” Bohm said of the incident, which the umpires never explained to the players or fans.
“Alec, no one does, my friend. No one does,” Kruk shot back.
Kruk wasn’t the only one angry at the officiating. After the game, fellow NBC Sports Philadelphia analyst Ricky Bottalico went off on Valentine, calling him the “worst home plate umpire I’ve ever seen in Major League Baseball.”
“He could not get anything right,” Bottalico said. “He was doing circles with that pitch timer thing. He was a disaster.”
After the game, Thomson explained what the umpires told him about the situation.
“They said Kimbrel started too early,” Thomson told reporters. “Well, Rojas stands with his left foot in the box, and his right foot is kind of set back, and he’s looking right at Kimbrel. So my point was, ‘It’s the 10th inning, there’s no batter’s box there. How does Kimbrel know he’s not in the batter’s box?’”
Upcoming Phillies schedule
Thanks to MLB’s new balanced schedule, the Phillies have played only three games against NL East opponents in their first 49 games. But that’s about to change.
The fourth-place Phillies will play 10 straight games on the road against the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, and Washington Nationals. They’ll also get some national exposure in the coming week, with games on FS1, TBS, and ESPN.
Here’s the Phillies’ upcoming schedule:
Phillies at Atlanta Braves
Game 1: Thursday, 7:20 p.m. (NBCSP, WIP-FM)
Game 2: Friday, 7:20 p.m. (NBC10, WIP-FM)
Game 3: Saturday, 4:10 p.m. (NBCSP, FS1, WIP-FM)
Game 4: Sunday, 7:10 p.m. (ESPN, WIP-FM)
Phillies at New York Mets
Game 1: Tuesday, 7:10 p.m. (NBCSP, TBS, WIP-FM)
Game 2: Wednesday, 7:10 p.m. (NBCSP, WIP-FM)
Game 3: Thursday, June 1, 1:10 p.m. (NBCSP, WIP-FM)
Phillies at Washington Nationals
Game 1: Friday, June 2, 7:05 p.m. (NBC10, WIP-FM)
Game 2: Saturday, June 3, 4:05 p.m. (NBCSP, WIP-FM)
Game 3: Sunday, June 4, 1:35 p.m. (NBCSP, WIP-FM)
» READ MORE: Chances of a Phillies turnaround get even tougher with first looks at Braves and Mets next
NL East standings
Here are the NL East standings, as of Thursday morning: