The Nationals fell 5-4 to the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday for a variety of reasons — 11 stranded runners, pitching miscues by Gio Gonzalez and Ian Krol and other mstakes — but one of the moments that stood out was a disputed strike call that ended a seventh-inning rally with the Nationals trailing by a run. Home plate umpire Jim Joyce rung up Wilson Ramos with Bryce Harper representing the tying run at third.
Ramos took the first pitch, fouled off two, took a curveball in the dirt and then fouled off two more pitches. With a 1-2 count, Rosenberg fired a curveball inside. Ramos leaned back, almost to avoid being hit by the pitch, but it curled back toward the plate. But even then, the pitch appeared to be out of the strike zone. As the ball broke down, catcher Carlos Ruiz caught it with his palm down and close to the ground. He made no attempt to frame the pitch.
Joyce rung up Ramos. Clearly upset, Ramos turned toward Joyce and voiced what appeared to be displeasure. He did not, however, appear to yell. Within a few seconds, Ramos trudged back to the dugout. Manager Davey Johnson did not come out to argue the call.
After the game, Johnson said that Joyce admitted to him that he may have blown the call.
“He knew he missed it,” Johnson said of Joyce. “But that’s part of baseball. But we had a lot of chances and had the right guys up.”
Ramos was not available to speak with reporters when they were in the clubhouse after the game.