There was more fire in Jonathan Papelbons words than in the Phillies bats on Monday night.
Papelbon allowed a triple and an RBI single in the top of the ninth inning and took the loss as the Phillies were beaten, 4-3, by the Los Angeles Dodgers on an unusually raw night at Citizens Bank Park (see Instant Replay).
After the game, the Phillies closer unloaded on home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn. Papelbon believed that he had struck out Dee Gordon one pitch before the Dodgers leadoff man lined a triple to right-center on a 2-2 pitch to set up the tie-breaking run. Gordon scored the go-ahead run when the next batter, Elian Herrera, singled to left.
After registering the third out of the top of the ninth, Papelbon confronted Reyburn up the third base line. Umpire crew chief Derryl Cousins had to come in from second base and get Papelbon away from Reyburn, a Triple A umpire who fills in at the major-league level.
Doesnt surprise me, Papelbon said after hearing that Reyburn was a Triple A umpire. He probably needs to go back to Triple A.
Papelbon said he thought Reyburn sucked. He added that Reyburn was terrible and his work affected the entire game. Its likely that Papelbons comments will earn him a fine from MLB.
Youre up in the big leagues to do a good job and when you dont do a good job you should be demoted or fired, Papelbon said. Its just like anybodys job. If I dont do my job, I go down to Triple A. Theres no room for that up here. Its not a knock on the umpires. Its the integrity of the game. You want to be able to go out there and play the game the way it should be played.
All night long, from Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw to Phillies starter Vance Worley, all the way to the ninth inning, it affected the outcome of the game.
Earlier in the game, Reyburn ejected Dodgers bench coach Trey Hillman for complaining about balls and strikes. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was ejected moments later.
On his way to confronting Reyburn, Papelbon shouted, You know you messed that call up. Once he reached Reyburn, Papelbon got more animated.
I just wanted to ask him a question, Papelbon said. I wanted to know if he could throw me out for what I was thinking.
And what was Papelbon thinking?
I thought he was terribleall day, Papelbon said. It wasnt just that pitch. All I wanted to know was if he could throw me out for what I was thinking, and if he could, I thought he sucked. Its that simple.
While Papelbon pointed to the umpiring as the culprit, it wasnt the main reason that the Phils lost.
Once again, the Phils bats could not come up with a big hit late in the game. Vance Worley made a healthy return from the disabled list and allowed three runs in the first two innings. The Phils, on the strength of Placido Polancos two-run homer, tied the game against Kershaw in the third.
But that was it for the offense.
The Phils got a one-out triple from Jimmy Rollins in the fifth, but he was cut down at the plate on a contact-play ground ball to shortstop. Manager Charlie Manuel said he employed the contact play because the Phils were having trouble scoring and he wanted to take a chance at getting a run home. Polanco hit the ball right at Gordon, the Dodgers shortstop.
Two innings later, the Phils loaded the bases with two outs against Kershaw, but got nothing when Hunter Pence grounded out to end the threat. Pence is 2 for his last 33 with runners in scoring position and 14 for 69 (.203) in those situations for the season. Last year, he hit .339 with runners in scoring position.
He swings at balls out of the strike zone, said Manuel, explaining Pences problems with runners in scoring position. When hes hitting, you like him, but he definitely swings at pitches out of the strike zone and when were not scoring runs it shows up.
Manuel went to Papelbon in a tie game in the top of the ninth hoping the righthander could hold the Dodgers and the Phils could have a shot to win the game in bottom of the inning. It didnt happen. Gordon hit a 2-2 splitter for the triple that led to the go-ahead run.
Papelbon has had an interesting season. He is 15 for 15 in save chances, but has allowed 11 hits and six runs in 8 13 innings (6.48 ERA) in nine non-save appearances.
E-mail Jim Salisbury at email@example.com