Matt Williams was ejected for the first time in his career as Nationals manager after arguing balls and strikes in the second inning on Monday night in Milwaukee. Williams chirped at home plate umpire Mark Wegner from the dugout after the inning and was quickly tossed. He came out of the dugout to talk and was animated. Williams then returned to the dugout and walked into the tunnel toward the Nationals’ clubhouse.
“I wanted to have a conversation but he didn’t want to,” Williams said after the 3-0 win over the Brewers. “It’s part of the game. We had an opportunity there and it didn’t happen for us. But Adam [LaRoche] came up with a big homer. I wanted to have that conversation but he decided he didn’t.”
The Nationals had the bases loaded with no outs against Brewers starter Matt Garza in the top of the inning but didn’t score. Danny Espinosa struck out looking on an outside fastball, Jose Lobaton struck out chasing a slider and Gio Gonzalez grounded out.
But even though he didn’t admit it, what likely irked Williams was the called third strike to Espinosa. The pitch, the sixth of the at-bat, appeared to be just outside the strike zone on replays and Pitchf/x.
Asked why he was upset, Williams was coy. “The fact that we didn’t get any runs that inning,” he said with a smile.
Pressed for a reason, Williams grinned. “It bothered me that my hat was a little tight [Monday night],” he said. “He didn’t want to talk to me anymore.”
Bench coach Randy Knorr, who managed the team after Williams’ ejection, and players were unsure what sparked the ejection because it all unfolded so quickly.
“I actually came up to see where the pitch was on Danny and somebody yelled, ‘He got kicked out of the game,’” Knorr said. “So I didn’t see it. I actually had to go watch it on tape.”
Added LaRoche: “That took every bit of five seconds. I still don’t know the full story there. I just know I looked up and he was getting tossed. I didn’t know it escalated that fast. It’s good for him to get the first one out of the way. At least we know he’s got it in him.”
“It was good, man,” reliever Tyler Clippard said. “I liked it. It fired us up. I think it was a little quick trigger on the umpire’s part but I think what’s how it goes sometimes. I’m sure he’ll have another one.”