Ejection Inspection, Week 14: Arizona Diamondbacks Manager Torey Lovullo Gets Baited, Goes Nuts

Torey Lovullo
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 30: Manager Torey Lovullo #17 of the Arizona Diamondbacks argues with home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski #76 after Lovullo was thrown out of the game by Muchlinski against the San Francisco Giants in the top of the fifth inning at Oracle Park on June 30, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Welcome to Week 14 of Ejection Inspection! (Note: Due to health issues with the author, it has been delayed by a week.) The premise and ground rules are detailed here. The condensed version: each ejection from the previous week (Thursday through Wednesday) is listed in a table. The author – a former player/coach/umpire – analyzes each ejection and assigns it an entertainment rating of one to five Weavers in honor of late Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver. There were five ejections in Week 14 – four managers and a player. One was Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash, who notched his first of the season. The real star, however, was Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo, whose first ejection of the season earned Five Weavers.

(For a list of every article in this series, click here.)

Date Team Opp Inn. Name Pos Umpire Pos Reason
1 Thu 6/27 CHC ATL B4 Carlos Gonzalez RF Nic Lentz HP Arguing balls/strikes
2 Sat 6/29 CIN CHC B9 David Bell Mgr Mark Wegner HP Arguing non-ejection after HBP
3 Sat 6/29 DET WSN T4 Ron Gardenhire Mgr Mark Ripperger HP Arguing balls/strikes
4 Sun 6/30 TB TEX B2 Kevin Cash Mgr Bruce Dreckman HP Arguing balls/strikes
5 Sun 6/30 AZ @SF T5 Torey Lovullo Mgr Mike Muchlinski HP Arguing balls/strikes

 

Carlos Gonzalez, Chicago Cubs right fielder

When

Thursday, June 27th, vs. Atlanta Braves, bottom of the fourth

Umpire

Nic Lentz (HP)

Description

On 3-1, Gonzalez took a pitch on the inside corner and at the knees. He quickly tossed his bat toward the dugout and turned to trot to first, only to be stopped by a strike call. After retrieving his bat, he took a thigh-high 3-2 pitch over the outer half of the plate. Lentz rung him up, and Gonzalez turned around and got in Lentz’s face with an impassioned argument. Gonzalez held up two fingers at one point during the argument. After being told to stop, Gonzalez continued, and Lentz tossed him.

Understand the frustration?

Sort of. A strikeout when down by three with two runners on and nobody out is always going to be frustrating. However, both of those pitches were strikes, and the third one wasn’t even borderline.

Was the ejection justified?

Absolutely. This was ridiculous. Gonzalez has been in the league a long time, and he knows that a nose-to-nose argument with an umpire over called strikes is going to end badly. Not only that, but the umpire gave him a way out, and he didn’t take it.

Entertainment Rating

One Weaver. It wasn’t memorable.

 

David Bell, Cincinnati Reds manager

When

Saturday, June 29th, vs. Chicago Cubs, bottom of the ninth

Umpire

Mark Wegner (HP)

Description

In the bottom of the eighth, Yasiel Puig was hit by a pitch, sparking a bench clearer. Wegner then warned both teams. The following inning, with the Cubs leading, 6-0, Cubs pitcher Dillon Maples, who is known for control problems, had a breaking ball get away from him, and it hit pinch hitter Jose Peraza in the arm.

Bell came out of the dugout to argue that Maples should have been thrown out. Wegner told him that he didn’t feel it was intentional. A lengthy discussion ensued, with Bell getting more and more agitated. Bell continued until Wegner tossed him.

Understand the frustration?

It seemed like Bell was doing two things: venting frustration over the Puig plunking by arguing the non-ejection of Maples and trying to rattle a young reliever with control problems. Maples did not hit Peraza intentionally, and that was obvious to any neutral observer.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes, and it looked like Bell went onto the field with the goal of getting ejected.

Entertainment Rating

One Weaver. This was Bell’s sixth ejection of the year, and few have been memorable. They’re getting old, in fact. He’s become known as a whiner, and those type of ejections aren’t fun to watch. Of note: Reds broadcaster Thom Brennaman pointed out that in Dusty Baker’s entire six-year tenure as Reds manager, he was ejected five times. Bell has six in half of a season.

 

Ron Gardenhire, Detroit Tigers manager

When

Saturday, June 29th, vs. Washington Nationals, top of the fourth

Umpire

Mark Ripperger (HP)

Description

Tigers southpaw Gregory Soto faced Nationals second baseman Brian Dozier with a runner on third and two out. On a 1-2 count, Soto threw a pitch toward the upper corner of the zone. It was below the letters and near the outside corner. Thinking it was going to end the half-inning, Soto started toward the dugout and stopped abruptly when Ripperger called it a ball. Dozier lined the next pitch down the left field line for an RBI double.

Gardenhire started toward the mound to replace his pitcher but was yelling to Ripperger that he had cost the Tigers a run. Without warning, Ripperger threw Gardenhire out. Gardenhire began yelling even more that Ripperger had cost the Tigers a run, then went to the plate. He said that the pitch was “right here” as he drew a line in the dirt with his foot. Then he unloaded on Ripperger some more before storming to the clubhouse.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. From Gardenhire’s vantage point in the dugout, the 1-2 pitch looked like a strike that would have ended the inning. When the next pitch was ripped for an RBI double, that had to be infuriating.

Was the ejection justified?

By the book, yes, but that was a VERY quick trigger.

Entertainment Rating

Three Weavers. Gardenhire’s fiery argument was good enough for two, but his foot swipe over home plate was beautiful.

 

Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay Rays manager

When

Sunday, June 30th, vs. Texas Rangers, bottom of the second

Umpire

Bruce Dreckman (HP)

Description

On a 3-1 count with runners on second and third and nobody out, RF Avisail Garcia took a fastball at the knees and near the outside corner. Dreckman called strike two. The next pitch ended in a called strike three. It appeared to be wide of the plate, but, as Rays broadcaster DeWayne Staats said, was “consistent” with what Dreckman had been calling in the game up to that point.

Cash barked protest from the dugout as Garcia reached the dugout. Dreckman yelled back in defense of his call, saying, “I said it’s a strike. I’m not watching it on TV.” Cash retorted, “I don’t care if you’re watching, that’s a ball!”

Dreckman said, “No, it’s not off.”

Cash: “That’s a ball!”

Dreckman: “I got it as a strike. I don’t care what that says.”

Cash: “That’s two! Obviously, it’s a ball! Two in a row!”

Then Dreckman gave Cash the thumb, bringing him out of the dugout. He continued to vent his frustration, pointing out that he had two runners on, and a walk would have loaded the bases with nobody out. His rant ended with, “You’re wrong! You’re wrong!”

Understand the frustration?

Definitely. Bases loaded with nobody out is better than second and third with one out.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes. Managers cannot argue balls and strikes. Dreckman, honestly, gave him a pretty long leash.

Entertainment Rating

The first ejection of the season for both Cash and the Tampa Bay Rays earns Two Weavers. It was entertaining, but Cash didn’t do anything even remotely outrageous.

 

Torey Lovullo, Arizona Diamondbacks manager

When

Sunday, June 30th, top of the fifth

Umpire

Mike Muchlinski (HP)

Description

Down 4-0, Diamondbacks catcher Carson Kelly faced Madison Bumgarner with a runner on third and nobody out in the top of the fifth. On a 2-2 count, Bumgarner threw a cut fastball that was caught close to the plate. It appeared to break around the plate but not cross it, but it was very close. Muchlinski rang Kelly up for the first out. The first pitch to the next hitter, Ildemaro Vargas, was well outside and nearly hit the dirt for ball one.

Torey Lovullo Gets Baited

Muchlinski then looked toward the dugout. In response, Torey Lovullo muttered something unclear to cameras and microphones. Muchlinski snapped his head back toward the dugout and yelled, “You got something to say, Torey?” Lovullo responded, “You’re g__d____ right I do!” Muchlinski responded with, “You do? What do you got to say?” Before Lovullo said two syllables, Muchlinski cut him off with, “Enough!” Lovullo yelled that it was something that started with horse, and Muchlinski threw him out.

Torey Lovullo Goes Nuts

Lovullo flew out of the dugout and went berserk. He leaned in, nearly nose to nose with Muchlinski, held his index fingers about eight inches apart and yelled several times that “it was this far outside!” Then he started adding profane adjectives as he continued. Muchlinski mockingly yelled back, “It was how far? Oh yeah, I bet. I bet. Okay.” He then put his mask under his arm and smugly walked toward the third base dugout. Torey Lovullo stayed in his face, yelling the entire time, until first base umpire and crew chief Dan Iassogna arrived. When his partner got there, Muchlinski said, “That’s it. Get out now.” Then Lovullo wheeled around and marched back to the clubhouse.

Understand the frustration?

Absolutely. Every manager in the league would have blown a gasket over this. Lovullo was baited, plain and simple. (Author’s note: I would have been ejected over this, too.)

Was the ejection justified?

No. He was baited. It was completely unprofessional on the part of Muchlinski. Umpires are supposed to act with diplomacy and try to diffuse tense situations, not pour gasoline on the fire.

Entertainment Rating

Five Weavers, easily. Lovullo was incensed, and rightfully so. Muchlinski baited him 100% and then gave him an unjustly quick ejection. Following it by getting into a nose-to-nose argument and staying with Muchlinski step-by-step up the third base line made this score easy.

 

Leaderboard

After 14 weeks, here are the leaders. Fight-related ejections are not counted toward the leaderboard.

Individual: Gardenhire (seven), Bell (six)
Team high: Cincinnati Reds (10), Detroit Tigers (eight)
Team low: Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, and Tampa Bay Rays (one each)
Umpire: Mike Estabrook (eight)

 

Week 15 can be found here. Thank you for all the well-wishes.

Evan Thompson played baseball as a youth and teenager. He also umpired between 1995 and 2004 and has coached at the high school level.

Main Photo
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