There’s still one more game to go for the Orioles in Boston in this series. Catcher Caleb Joseph has had enough.
Joseph flipped his lid Wednesday when home-plate umpire Sam Holbrook tossed his pitcher, Kevin Gausman, in the second inning because of a curveball that didn’t curve and instead caught Xander Bogaerts in the lower back.
Joseph thought the ejection was ridiculous, which it was. But the sideshow that's been attached to this Orioles-Red Sox series has gone over the top, in his mind.
"I think the video shows I was probably the most shocked person in the stadium. I could not believe that he ejected,” Joseph said. “I am not trying to bury Sam here, but we're so ready for this thing to be over. We're so ready — I am the most excited person to get the hell out of Boston. I mean, let's get on with it and get out of here. Let's get out of here and play ball. That's all we want to do in here is play ball.
“I hope it dies down, but who knows. When the decisions are in the hands of the umpires, you don't know. These teams are good. And to pitch, you have to pitch to certain parts of the plate. Period. And you have to establish certain pitches. It's freezing outside. The balls are slick, guys are trying to make pitches. Certain guys stand certain places on the plate. You have to execute pitches. What if a guy is on the plate standing on the white chalk and his elbows are leaning over and it's a strike and you throw it near his elbow. Is it an automatic ejection?”
Joseph suggested collaboration between the umpires, as is seen in other instances. But ejections aren’t exactly the kind of thing umpires have a history of undoing.
“There's too much gray area right now,” Joseph said of what his pitchers can and can’t do. “It prohibits us playing the game. It prohibits pitchers doing what they are trying to do to get outs. We don't have the Chris Sale who throws 97 and strikes out the world. We have guys who use their pitches in certain locations to get guys out. We have Gold Glove caliber defense, period. They have to go in there and make certain pitches and a curveball got away from a guy and he got ejected. It's malarkey. It's freaking BS.”
Bogaerts said he thought it was possible that because the pitch was straight at him the whole time, Holbrook couldn’t see that it was a breaking ball rather than a fastball. Sox manager John Farrell said he was surprised by the ejection.
Holbrook held steady after the game, though.
“Just given the situation and the tension between the two clubs and all the stuff that’s gone over the past few weeks, we’re all on high alert with anything,” Holbrook told a pool reporter, Ken Powtak of the Associated Press. “I know that the ball was a curveball, but it hit him square in the back and just making a split decision at that point right there, there needs to be an end to this stuff, and I felt like an ejection was the right thing to do at that time, and that’s what we did. Thankfully, we didn’t have any more problems the rest of the game.”
Gausman called the ejection “bush league,” and noted that if he’s going to get tossed for a breaking ball hitting someone in the back, a warning should have been issued before the game. Gausman pointed out the injustice of Chris Sale not being tossed for a high-90s fastball that went behind Manny Machado on Tuesday.
Of course, one was, in a sense. The commissioner, Rob Manfred, spoke to both Farrell and O’s manager Buck Showalter on the phone.