Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine didn't shy away from expressing his anger toward home plate umpire Alan Porter during the ninth inning of Boston's game against D.C. at Fenway Park on Sunday. After the Nationals finished off a 4-3 win and three-game sweep of the Red Sox, Valentine went a step farther, expressing disappointment with the umpiring throughout the weekend.
The moment that seemed to push Valentine over the edge occurred with the Nationals' No. 9 hitter Roger Bernadina at the plate with two outs in the ninth and the scored knotted at 3-3. With Bryce Harper on first, Red Sox reliever Alfredo Aceves appeared to strike out Bernadina with a 1-2 pitch (PitchFx showed it was a strike). But Porter called the pitch a ball, even as some of the Boston players began jogging off the field. On the next pitch, Berardina laced a double to right field, driving in Harper and giving the Nats a 4-3 lead.
As far as the Red Sox were concerned, the umpiring only got worse from there.
In the bottom of the ninth, Dustin Pedroia took a called strike that looked outside. Pedroia immediately complained while Valentine voiced his displeasure from the dugout, leading to Valentine's ejection.
"Alfredo struck the guy out on a pitch that the whole ball is on the plate, and [Porter] calls it a ball. Then he gets an RBI. I got guys busting their butt, battling their butt off and it's not right. Good umpires had a real bad series, a real bad series. It went one way. There should be a review," Valentine told reporters after the game. "The game is simple: Throw it over the plate, call it a strike. Don't throw it over the plate, call it a ball. It's simple. That's all. That's all anybody asks. I know it's been going on for 100 years. I'm not the first one to say it. But this was a pretty lousy series."
It has been a pretty lousy homestand for Boston all together. After taking two of three at Toronto, the Red Sox lost five of their last six to Baltimore and Washington in Fenway, dropping below .500 once again.
Valentine put himself on the growing list of managers, players and even announcers to have vented their frustrations with umpires this season.
Former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, now with Philadelphia, suggested that umpire D.J. Reyburn should be sent down to Triple-A after a loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers last week.
Following an early blown call and an ejection in the third inning last month, Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland lashed out at the umpiring and called on the media to write about the call, implying everyone knew the ump got it wrong.