Bryce Harper’s hair was immaculate as usual, but the same could hardly be said about his state of mind Monday night. The Phillies slugger stormed out of the dugout during a loss to the Mets after he was ejected for taking vehement issue with home plate umpire Mark Carlson.
In his 22nd game since coming over from Washington in spring training, Harper became the first Philadelphia player to get tossed since 2015, ending what had been the longest such stretch by any major league team (per MLB.com). The 26-year-old outfielder made sure he got his money’s worth, following Phillies Manager Gabe Kapler onto the field before needing to be restrained by two other coaches.
Harper and Kapler were incensed because the six-time all-star had been ejected after chirping at Carlson over a questionable called strike during an at-bat by Philadelphia’s Cesar Hernandez. Earlier in the inning, Harper displayed visible frustration after striking out looking. He struck out swinging in his first at-bat.
After charging onto the field, Harper gave Carlson a piece of his mind while Philadelphia bench coach Rob Thomson and third base coach Dusty Wathan blocked his path. As the 2015 NL MVP was led back to the clubhouse, Kapler continued to strenuously argue with Carlson but was not ejected.
The Phillies were losing 2-1 at the time, and after Harper was replaced by light-hitting outfielder Roman Quinn they went on to lose to the Mets, 5-1. In postgame comments, starting pitcher Jake Arrieta was critical of Harper’s loss of composure, saying “he’s got to understand we need him in right field.”
“I don’t care how bad the umpire is. He wasn’t great for either side,” Arrieta said of Carlson (via Scott Lauber of Philly.com). “I’m out there trying to make pitches, and he misses some calls. So what? We need [Harper] out there.”
“We’ve got to come out tomorrow ready to play,” added the veteran pitcher, who suggested that his team was flat after the start of Monday’s game was delayed by rain. “It’s troubling, yeah. I’m out there doing everything I can to win a game. I need my guys behind me, and they weren’t.”
Harper appeared to agree with that assessment, saying (via Lauber), “In a game like that against the Mets, division rival, it just can’t happen, for me myself, and this team, as well. We’re a better team with me in the lineup, and I’ve got to stay in there.”
“I can’t control what [Carlson’s] zone is going to be. I can control what I can do. I’ve just got to be better with that, tonight and going forward.”
It was the 12th ejection of Harper’s career, according to Retrosheet, and his sixth since the last Phillies player was tossed. That occurred on June 16, 2015, with Justin DeFratus getting the heave-ho just a day after the same thing happened to teammate Maikel Franco.
Carlson said after the game (via MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo) that Harper’s “inappropriate” comments from the dugout “warranted an automatic ejection.” It was a rough night for Harper, whose batting average fell to .272 as he was mocked by Mets fans.
Harper, who spent his first seven major league seasons with the Nationals after they made him the No. 1 pick in the 2010 draft, signed with the Phillies for $330 million over 13 seasons. He came into Monday’s game with five home runs, 14 RBIs, a .963 OPS and a league-leading 18 walks.
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