During the top of the eighth inning of the New York Yankees 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night, Yankees manager Joe Girardi got ejected by home plate umpire Laz Diaz for arguing balls and strikes.
It was during Brett Gardner's at bat where a strike was called when the ball was obviously low and made the count 1-1 instead of 2-0, which is when Girardi had enough and lost his cool on Diaz, who has a reputation around the league for having a very questionable strike zone.
Following the Yankees loss, Girardi was asked by if he thought Diaz was purposely trying to instigate trouble with Girardi and provoked him to come out of the dugout following the questionable strike call, in which Girardi gave a short, but emphatic answer.
"Yes," Girardi said.
Girardi was then asked what lead to his eruption on Diaz and eventual ejection which Girardi said it all started with an earlier at-bat with third basemen Kelly Johnson and it snowballed into Gardner's at-bat.
"I mentioned to Laz in a respectful way that I thought the pitch was up to Kelly Johnson early in the game and he gave me the Mutumbo," Girardi said, waiving his right index finger left and right. "And I don't appreciate that," Girardi said. "I'm not a little kid and I don't need to be scolded. Obviously, we're trying to work together and I just thought there were a lot of inconsistencies tonight."
Following Girardi's ejection, it seemed like things snowballed in the opposite direction for the Yankees, who had bases loaded and nobody out when Gardner was up. After the 1-1 count, Diaz then called another questionable strike to make it 1-2 and then Gardner struck out swinging for the first out of the inning. Derek Jeter grounded into a double play to end the inning and end the Yankees threat of taking the lead in that inning and killed any momentum the Yankees had, which is why Girardi went ballistic at that moment.
"I had a problem with a number (of pitches) but I dnd't say much," Girardi said. "I just didn't. But when the game's on the line it's a bit different. And when you're asking your hitters to be patient and disciplined, it makes it much more difficult than that."
Later in the inning, Diaz also ejected Yankees reliever Shawn Kelley after he was taken out of the game; Kelley thought he was getting squeezed during the at-bat in which he walked in the go-ahead run and as Kelley was headed to the dugout, was jawing with Diaz and then eventually got tossed as well. Girardi had some scolding words for Diaz after Kelley was tossed as well.
"No one's coming to see Laz," Girardi said. "I can tell you that."
The ejection was the first for Girardi in the 2014 season; Kelley's ejection was the first of his entire MLB career.
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