Monday night, the Phillies opened their three-game series against the Mets with a bit of a thud at Citi Field (NYM 5, PHI 1). The game was delayed 95 minutes by rain and the Phillies looked pretty lifeless throughout. The final 16 batters they sent to the plate made outs.
Bryce Harper was ejected in the fourth inning because he was upset with home plate umpire Mark Carlson's strike zone -- Harper is the first Phillies player to be ejected since Justin DeFratus in June 2015, if you can believe that -- and he eventually stormed out of the dugout to give Carlson the business. Here's the video:
Following the game Carlson told reporters, including MLB.com's Anthony DiComo, that Harper made "inappropriate" comments and also bumped Phillies manager Gabe Kapler into Carlson. "What he said warranted an automatic ejection," Carlson added.
Harper went 0 for 2 with two strikeouts (one swinging, one looking) before being ejected, and his replacement, Roman Quinn, went 0 for 2 with two strikeouts as well. Philadelphia's No. 3 hitters went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts in the game. Ouch.
Jake Arrieta started for the Phillies and labored a bit (6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HR), then, after the game, he called out his teammates for their sluggish play and also Harper for getting ejected in an important intra-division game. Here's what Arrieta told reporters:
Arrieta certainly has the gravitas and resume to call out a player like Harper, and he's not wrong either. These games against the Mets are important, even in April. The Phillies and Mets figure to battle it out for the NL East all season long (or at least a wild-card spot) and the Phillies need their best players on the field. Getting thrown out of a game because a disagreement with an ump shouldn't happen. There's way to say what you have to say without getting ejected.
Because this involves Harper, this will no doubt become A Thing going forward, though I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a clubhouse civil war. Arrieta said what he had to say, he and Harper will talk it out behind closed doors, and that'll probably be that. Then again, maybe not? I know this much: winning cures all. A win Tuesday and this will all blow over.