CHICAGO -- Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez released his accumulated frustration and found himself ejected -- for just the second time in his career -- after disputing a called third strike in the fifth inning of Sunday afternoon's 7-5 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field.The bases were loaded with
CHICAGO -- Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez released his accumulated frustration and found himself ejected -- for just the second time in his career -- after disputing a called third strike in the fifth inning of Sunday afternoon's 7-5 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
The bases were loaded with no outs when Jacob Arrieta, who himself had a difficult inning because of a cut on his right thumb and a disputed hit-by-pitch of Charlie Blackmon earlier in the frame, uncorked a 91.9 mph sinker with a 1-2 count. Gonzalez scooted his feet back, then saw plate umpire Marvin Hudson call the third strike. The pitch appeared borderline on strike zone simulations, and replay showed some late movement.
Then Gonzalez lost his cool.
"Everybody knows that I'm not a guy that argues balls and strikes," Gonzalez said. "I've been in this league a long time, and I don't remember the last time I got ejected.
"It was a bad pitch. I went in after I got ejected, because obviously you might think that something is not a strike, then you go in and, 'Oh, they were right.' But this time it was a bad pitch. I said a few words, he didn't like it and he tossed me."
Last time Gonzalez was booted was Sept. 9, 2011, at Coors Field against the Reds. Gonzalez struck out swinging, but was he not happy with pitches earlier in the at-bat. He was tossed for yelling from the dugout, and then-manager Jim Tracy was ejected for demonstrating what he thought of plate umpire Mark Carlson's body of work in the at-bat.
But there was more to it than a called third strike.
The Rockies were trailing, 4-1, at the time, and they had a chance for a big inning. They ended up tying the game and chasing Arrieta, only to lose it on late home runs by Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber and Miguel Montero.
Also, the frustration was personal.
Gonzalez has been off more than on this year, and he finished the day at .223 and 8-for-51 (.157) with runners in scoring position. And on Saturday, Gonzalez appeared as a pinch-hitter in a 9-1 victory over the Cubs with two on in the ninth against Felix Pena. A 3-0 pitch that according to strike zone simulations appeared outside was called a strike, and Gonzalez would eventually pop out.
"I want to help the team score runs, and that's what really frustrated me," Gonzalez said. "I've said for a long time, I'm not a guy that's going to get upset for getting out. I get upset when I feel I have the opportunity to help the team and I don't."
Despite his rough numbers, Gonzalez is staying positive, because the Rockies have played well. Sunday ended a win streak at seven games, including two over the Indians and three over the Cubs -- last year's World Series participants. The Rockies lead the National League West, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Dodgers.
"That should give us confidence to continue to win games," Gonzalez said.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and** like his Facebook page**.