Ryan Pressly was ejected with two outs in the ninth Sunday due to Vic Carapazza’s power trip.
The Houston Astros‘ three-run ninth inning led to a four-run lead and a non-save appearance for Ryan Pressly to get some work. Pressly made quick work of the first two Kansas City Royals’ batters and then up came nine-hole hitter Michael A. Taylor.
Pressly, perhaps by sweaty hands or poor release point, threw an inside fastball catching the batter’s box, leading to Taylor dodging and scooting back his feet. Pressly gets the ball back and is visibly frustrated with the first pitch, wiping his pants to dry his fingers.
As Taylor steps back in the box after walking into the left-handed hitter’s box, home-plate umpire Vic Carapazza leaned over and stared at Pressly, seeming to say something to Taylor. I have no idea what Carapazza is doing as the game is one out from being over and Taylor hasn’t had any issues with the Astros all game.
In fact, Taylor was 2-for-3 in the game and was smiling when he returned to the box. Pressly then discards the ball into the Astros’ dugout, and Martin Maldonado tosses him another. With a 1-0 count and two outs in the ninth inning, Pressly’s second pitch of the at-bat was again off as he dropped a slider into the dirt.
Maldonado discards the ball again, and then Pressly sets after he gets the sign for an inside fastball. Maldonado again sets up in the same inside corner spot as the first pitch, and it’s an almost mirror image of the first with Taylor scooting back slightly, less so than the first pitch.
Carapazza immediately steps out from behind the plate before Maldonado even throws the ball back and waves to his fellow umpires to come up. Carapazza then waves both hands towards Pressly, and Pressly stands there confused with Maldonado also confused with his hands on his hips.
Carapazza then issued a warning to both dugouts which, in reality, is only a warning to Pressly. In reality, this call really has no basis except as a power play by the umpires. Pressly then engages Carapazza and seconds later is tossed. Carapazza continued to tell Pressly what he thought while the closer pled his case.
Manager Dusty Baker added his thoughts to the situation with members of the staff restraining Pressly. All-in-all, the series of events seemed pretty harmless, and if anything, the situation was heightened by Carapazza wanting to start something rather than anything else.
Pressly didn’t stare down or talk at Taylor and was visibly frustrated with himself. Major League Baseball needs to look at this and properly discipline or demote Carapazza as the toss and warning were manufactured by him and his actions without animosity between the teams.
Thankfully for the Astros, Maton was ready to go but struggled, handing the ball to Montero for the save. With two outs in the ninth, Pressly’s ejection led to the Astros using two more relievers in a four-run contest.
On April 8 and May 22, Carapazza also umpired behind the plate and favored the Astros’ opposition with calls according to Baseball Savant. Carapazza had a -0.65 favorability in calls for the home team when the Astros were at home on May 22 facing the Texas Rangers, and when they were on the road facing the Los Angeles Angels on April 8, he had a 0.32 home favorability.
The old saying very much applies here of Carapazza making a mountain out of a molehill, so the ball is in the hands of MLB. I think he might need a demotion for a little ego check. This season has been nothing short of umpire controversy, as earlier in the year, Madison Bumgarner was ejected by an umpire after he held his hand and stared at him rather than checking for foreign substances and moving on. Do better, Major League Baseball.