The calls that led to Bryce Harper’s costly ejection

Steve Mitchell/Getty Images
Steve Mitchell/Getty Images

In the 10th inning of the Nationals’ gut-wrenching, 2-1 loss last night, Bryce Harper’s spot in  the order came to bat in the most important moment of the night: one out, two runners in scoring position, tie game. Only Harper wasn’t coming to bat. He was in the clubhouse, having been ejected in the eighth inning. Scott Hairston batted instead, and both he and Ryan Zimmerman struck out. The rally died and a frustrating season had added a brutal new chapter.

Ian Desmond had strong words about the need for Harper to be more disciplined. It’s hard to argue that point. No matter how badly Harper feels he has been wronged, a one-run game in the eighth inning is no time to feud with the umpire and risk ejection.

There still is the question, though, of whether Harper was wronged. He explained that his ire stemmed from his at-bats earlier in the game, particularly his looking strikeout against Jose Fernandez in the sixth inning. Harper felt home plate umpire Hunter Wendlestedt had been stingy calling outside strikes early in the game, then allowed the zone to become more liberal later.

You can decide for yourself. Here’s a look at every pitch Harper saw last night.

Adam Kilgore covers national sports for the Washington Post. Previously he served as the Post's Washington Nationals beat writer from 2010 to 2014.
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James Wagner · July 14, 2013