White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton was ejected by home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt on Friday night -- but his booting, oddly, came after the game ended.
Eaton struck out looking to end the White Sox 4-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals and, after saying something to Wendelstedt, was tossed even though there was no longer a game from which to throw him out.
Eaton's strikeout looking was the eighth the White Sox took Friday night, and an inconsistent strike zone was the root of his grievance.
"It’s tough when you strike out and you only saw one strike and you didn’t take the bat off your shoulder, it’s pretty tough to hit like that," Eaton said. "I think most guys didn’t like the inconsistency all night. Like I said, it’s tough. I think I know the zone pretty well. The at-bat before that, the first pitch I didn’t really like, and he told me to go look at it. So I went down and looked at it, and at the end of the game, I told him I looked at it, and it wasn’t a strike, either.
"Like I said, the inconsistencies are tough to deal with as a hitter. Hitting is hard enough as it is, and when you have those inconsistencies, it makes it even more hard – especially Wade Davis throwing 95-plus. Very difficult. I think he heard my displeasures. But new day tomorrow. Those guys have got a job to do and we do, too, so we’ll get back at it."
According to Brooks Baseball's strike zone plots, Eaton and the White Sox had legitimate gripes with a handful of calls throughout the evening (called strikes for Kansas City pitchers are the red triangles):
There are a couple of blatant called strikes out of the zone here, and a few borderline ones that weren't consistently called. That the White Sox struck out looking eight times sticks out, and while the Royals didn't have any backwards-K's, that's probably normal for an aggressive lineup that's generally focused on putting the ball in play.
White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier expressed some displeasure toward Wendelstedt after Joakim Soria had a fastball called a strike in the seventh, and Eaton's strange ejection was the culmination of a frustrating day at the plate for the entire lineup.
Eaton isn't expected to receive any additional discipline because of the timing of his ejection.
"He's going to be in the lineup tomorrow," Ventura said, adding some deadpan analysis: "This game he's out. He couldn't have come back and played in this game."
This was Eaton's second career ejection (his first came in September 2014 against the Minnesota Twins). He's not the first player to earn a postgame ejection, either -- Mike Aviles was tossed after a game in 2013, for example.
"I think he (Wendelstedt) understands my frustrations," Eaton said. "Umpiring is very difficult. I understand that, I really do. But like I said, when you strike balls with such conviction, I have a problem with it."