Everybody Surprised Hernandez Tossed, Except Umps
Or maybe it was Ryne Sandberg.
Or maybe it was Starlin Castro and players and coaches from both the Phillies and Cubs clubhouses. Or every fan in the ballpark.
Home plate umpire Mark Ripperger, who is a Triple-A call up, ejected Hernandez almost immediately after he threw a first-pitch fastball that ran inside to hit Castro, who homered against him in the fourth inning of a 2-1 Cubs victory. It was a 2-0 game with two outs in the sixth and Hernandez had thrown just 81 pitches as he hoped to pitch past the sixth inning for just the third time in 12 starts this season.
“I was very, very surprised,” Hernandez said. “I didn’t throw that on purpose. I had two outs. I wanted to pitch into the next inning.”
Castro and Cubs manager Rick Renteria agreed.
“I don’t think he did it on purpose,” Castro said. “He’s a good friend of mine. I know him a lot. I see him every day in the Dominican. I was surprised because I don’t even know why the umpire threw him out for that. It was the same pitch as the homer. That ball ran in because he doesn’t have control.”
“I don’t think they were trying to hit Starlin,” Renteria said. “I think the ball got away from the kid.”
Crew chief Gary Cederstrom spoke briefly to a pool reporter after the game, barely looking up from his newspaper as he talked.
“I thought the appropriate action was taken,” Cederstrom said.
Why was Hernandez ejected?
“Intentionally throwing at the batter,” he said.
How did he know that? Was he reading his mind?
“That’s our job,” he said.
Ryne Sandberg jogged onto the field in disbelief. Ripperger ejected Sandberg shortly thereafter.
“Quick toss of the pitcher with no warning,” Sandberg said. “Well, there were some other pitches inside the rest of the game and even early on in the game. Hernandez did not have his control throughout the game. I think that has to go noticed by an umpire. Typically there’s a warning there if he thinks he did it on purpose. There was no way it was on purpose.”