The pitch, as it turns out, was too far off the plate for even a plate umpire with an exceptionally wide strike zone.
At the time, though, the pitch seemed like one that Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward had seen go against his hitters too often Thursday night.
So, he started to bark toward umpire Mike Muchlinski in the seventh inning, and was ejected shortly thereafter for arguing balls and strikes.
That’s a big no-no.
Woodward didn’t say the “magic word” that led to Crash Davis getting ejected in Bull Durham. But he said enough to earn his third ejection of the season.
“I was wrong on that one, by the way. That was a ball,” Woodward said. “Honestly, I don’t advocate anybody screaming at the umpires. The only thing I ever asked is to be consistent. And whenever I see that it’s not, if it’s one way or the other, I’ve got to say something for my guys.”
Rookie right-hander Jonathan Hernandez was trying to preserve a 5-4 lead when his 1-2 pitch to Ji-Man Choi was called a ball by Muchlinski. Woodward started to argue, Muchlinski took off his masked and appeared to warn Woodward to stop, and then gave Woodward the thumb when he kept going.
Woodward ran toward Muchlinski, not-so-peacefully said his peace, and went to the clubhouse. He watched a replay of the disputed pitch, which ended up about six inches outside.
However, Woodward felt that his players, pitchers and hitters, had been put at a disadvantage with Muchlinski’s strike zone.
“I know how hard it is to umpire, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for what they do,” Woodward said. “I think the only time I’ve ever going to really cause a scene is if I feel like it’s very one-sided. And that’s happened a few times this year, and that’s part of the game.”