ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals were forced to finish Tuesday's 12-4 loss to the Brewers without MVP candidate Matt Carpenter, who was served his second ejection of the season after arguing a called third strike in the seventh inning.The timing of the ejection -- both in the moment and within
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals were forced to finish Tuesday's 12-4 loss to the Brewers without MVP candidate Matt Carpenter, who was served his second ejection of the season after arguing a called third strike in the seventh inning.
The timing of the ejection -- both in the moment and within the broader picture of a postseason race -- particularly irked the Cardinals, who were trailing, 7-4, at the time home-plate umpire Will Little tossed Carpenter. Carpenter had worked an 0-2 count even before laying off a curveball from Corey Knebel. Little called the pitch strike three.
Carpenter argued vehemently, and for good reason. Statcast™, which tracked the pitch to be both high and outside, corroborated his point of view. He had seemingly wrapped up his plea, though, and turned to start back toward the dugout when Little ejected the first baseman from the game.
"I'm not going to talk about the call," Carpenter said afterward. "You saw my reaction to what I thought the call was, but you know what, we're all human. We all make mistakes. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I don't make mistakes. That's regardless of the point. But the one thing I don't understand is being thrown out of a game as I'm walking away. That's the thing I have the issue with.
"I understand the situation. I understand the importance of these games. I understand the importance of staying in these games. So when I get thrown out of the game as I'm walking away, that's something I have a problem with."
Cardinals manager Mike Shildt, who hadn't come out of the dugout earlier because he thought the confrontation had been defused, rushed onto the field once Carpenter was tossed. And for the second time this season, he earned an ejection behind Carpenter.
"It's his discretion, his judgment and his priority to be able to do that," Shildt said of Little's decision. "But obviously I took exception to it because I didn't believe it was just. ... You're talking about an MVP candidate player. That doesn't give you the right to say what you want. But let's use some judgment here about what that rope looks like.
"[Carpenter] said something in passing over his shoulder. I don't believe it was anything personal. He was on his way. It was a dead issue. He was gone. And next thing, he's out of the game."
Carpenter confirmed that his final comments toward Little had not included profanity.
Frustration with the umpires had been brewing since Monday, when the Cardinals were displeased with Mark Carlson calling time while a play was still unfolding and for the third-strike call Lance Barksdale made on Jose Martinez, who represented the potential tying run with two out in the ninth.
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.