Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke will likely face a stiff fine from Major League Baseball after he went public with his grievances about home-plate umpire Mark Ripperger after the Brewers were beaten in 10 innings Wednesday night by the San Diego Padres.
Roenicke told reporters that he might as well have quit in the second inning.
“We’ve had (Ripperger) before and he is terrible behind home plate,” Roenicke said.
Rodriguez fell behind 2-0 in the count against Rivera, the first batter he faced after coming in to protect a 2-1 lead.
The two fastballs that were called balls by Ripperger were in a similar location to several pitches from Padres starter Odrisamer Despaigne that were called strikes earlier in the game.
Down in the count, Rodriguez had to come inside to Rivera, who lined a 2-0 fastball into the left-field seats.
Roenicke argued that Ripperger’s strike zone in that at bat was a dramatically different one than what he had been calling earlier in the game.
“We go in with a one-run lead in the ninth and we feel great with Frankie and they tie it up,” Roenicke said.
Roenicke was ejected after taking issue with Ripperger’s zone—arguing balls and strikes calls for an automatic ejection.
“He calls pitches that aren’t even close,” Roenicke said. “The catcher sets up six inches off the plate and he calls them strikes.”
Watching the broadcast—the San Diego feed—live, it looked like Ripperger was quite generous with the outside corner (or the inside corner of the left-handed batter’s box at times) until Rodriguez took the mound in the ninth.
Fox Sports San Diego analyst Mark Sweeney and play-by-play man Dick Enberg commented during the Rivera at-bat that Rodriguez was getting squeezed, for what it’s worth.
If nothing else, Roenicke’s rant proves one of the old rules about umpires—you can be bad, just as long as you’re consistently bad. If a pitch six inches off the black is a strike in the first inning, it needs to continue to be one throughout.
And that’s where Ripperger appeared to run off the rails.