ST. LOUIS -- Manager Mike Matheny's frustration with expanded replay reached a boiling point on Friday, leading to his second ejection of the season and postgame criticism about what he feels are shortcomings in the system.
Matheny has won just three of his 18 challenges (the lowest success rate in the Majors) despite several instances in which the Cardinals believed there to be sufficient evidence for a call to be overturned.
That was the case again in the sixth inning on Friday, when the Cardinals challenged a safe call by second-base umpire Will Little on the Cardinals' attempt at a forceout. Had the call been overturned, the Brewers, then ahead, 3-0, would have had a runner on first with one out and the pitcher batting.
However, a review did not offer the ruling umpire -- who views several angles in a New York office -- sufficient evidence to overturn the call, and the call stood. The Brewers took advantage, scoring four runs in the inning and knocking Adam Wainwright from the game after Jonathan Lucroy delivered a bases-loaded double.
"I saw a perfect replay where he was out at second," Wainwright said afterward. "I know it's close, but you've got replays for a reason, right? Who knows if those plays end up making a difference, but one out and a guy on first is a lot different than first and second and nobody out. That game completely changed course there."
When Matheny came out to remove his ace, he couldn't keep quiet. He took the ball, turned to Little and spoke only a few words before Little tossed him from the game. Any argument about a call already reviewed is grounds for an automatic ejection.
"Sooner or later the system has to allow us to be able to say something," Matheny said. "If they're not going to give me the headset to yell at that guy, then it's going to have to be somebody on the field. We sit and watch this enough, and I think we've gotten to the point now where we've taken a lot of emotion out of the game where you can't even say anything to these guys without getting tossed out of the game."
Adding to his aggravation was that Little had called a balk on Wainwright an inning earlier.
"That shouldn't have been called," Matheny said.
Wainwright, too, was puzzled, unsure why a balk had been called when he didn't have his foot on the rubber as he stopped his motion. Carlos Gomez, who advanced on that call, ended up scoring the Brewers' third run.
"What little has been yelled at [the umpires], they don't get anything anymore," Matheny said. "They get one day a week where maybe something is said to them behind the plate, and they seem to have a shorter fuse with that. That's their prerogative, but you're asking a bunch of [players] whose livelihood is on the line here to suppress their emotions. I don't think that's right, and it's not going to happen. We're going to keep doing what we think is right."