September 27, 2022

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Schwarber ejected in Phils’ frustrating shutout

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PHILADELPHIA — Kyle Schwarber gripped his bat with both hands and slammed it into the ground. He fired his helmet, too.

Somehow, everything remained in one piece.

Schwarber then turned toward home plate umpire Angel Hernandez and unleashed nine innings worth of frustrations into a 10-second highlight-reel-worthy ejection with two outs in the ninth inning in Sunday night’s 1-0 loss to the Brewers at Citizens Bank Park. Schwarber used his hands to illustrate the lanes outside home plate, where several pitches for both teams were called strikes. He used his hands to show the pitches above the zone that were called strikes, too.

Schwarber pointed to both sides of the plate one more time before walking away.

“Everyone kind of saw what was going on,” Schwarber said afterward. “I’m not here to bury anyone, but it wasn’t very good. You wish that … I don’t know how to really say it. It just wasn’t very good. Guys were doing a really good job tonight of not saying much. It just got to me to where I was going to stick up for myself, stick up for some other guys.”

The Phillies struck out looking four times. The Brewers struck out looking twice.

Statcast showed that none of those pitches were in the zone.

There were other pitches that appeared to be missed, too. None more questionable than a first-pitch slider from Brewers left-hander Eric Lauer to Jean Segura with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning.

The pitch appeared way off the plate, but it was called a strike.

Segura left the batter’s box for a few moments to try to collect himself. Hitters this season entered Sunday batting .200 with a .555 OPS following a first-pitch strike. They were batting .247 with a .779 OPS following a first-pitch ball.

“That’s the ultimate battle, right?” Schwarber said. “I’m all for umpires. I’m not against them. I’m pro-umpire. I don’t want the electronic strike zone. I like the element of sometimes pitches don’t get called. Guys don’t receive it well or whatever it is. It’s an enjoyable part of the game. But when you have things that are getting called off the plate with really good pitching on their side, it can be harder to score. You saw on both sides that it was a harder game to score.”

Two pitches later, Segura fouled out to third baseman Jace Peterson. Rhys Hoskins struck out swinging to end the inning.

“We always talk about swing counts,” Schwarber said. “If you can get from a 2-1 count to a 3-1 count versus a 2-2 count, that’s big. That’s just an instance. Those are things that, us as hitters, we look for. If we take that pitch that we think is off and it’s called a strike, it’s a big swing.”

It means one play can decide a game. In this case, it was Peterson’s fly-ball single to shallow center field to start the ninth. Center fielder Odúbel Herrera and shortstop Johan Camargo converged on the ball, but Herrera pulled up at the last second because he caught Camargo out of the corner of his eye.

“There should have been better communication,” Herrera said through an interpreter. “But in my mind, I was going to go get that ball.”

Peterson would come around to score.

J.T. Realmuto grounded out to start the ninth against Brewers closer Josh Hader. Schwarber worked a 3-2 count.

A walk would have given the Phillies a glimmer of hope.

The Phillies will have to get over it. They are 6-10. It is their worst start since 2015, when they started 5-11. That team lost 99 games, and Ryne Sandberg quit midseason.

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