TORONTO — It’s not often that Orioles catcher Matt Wieters loses his cool.
But after the Orioles fell behind 8-1 in the fifth inning of their 8-6 loss to the Blue Jays Tuesday night at the Rogers Centre, he felt he had to speak his mind to home plate umpire Doug Eddings.
He expressed his displeasure with the way Eddings was calling balls and strikes, obviously an easy way to get rung up. And that’s what happened to Wieters, who was quickly ejected for the first time in his career. Manager Buck Showalter had to rush out to put himself between Eddings and Wieters.
“It was something I felt that inning we threw some good pitches and they didn’t get called strikes and some pitches that had been getting called strikes earlier in the game,” Wieters said. “He gave me plenty of rope. That’s clear. You can’t argue balls and strikes. It’s something where I knew I might be gone there but I had to say my piece.”
The Orioles were already trailing 5-1 heading into the fifth, and Wieters thought starter Jake Arrieta was getting pinched during the first at bat of the inning against Jose Bautista. Arrieta, who was struggling with his fastball command throughout the night, issued back-to-back walks to Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion and he would be out of the game two batters later in favor of rookie Miguel Gonzalez, who made his major league debut Tuesday.
“There were some calls earlier that went their way that were close calls,” Wieters said. “But at the same time I thought we had a pretty big zone all night and then we made some pitches on Bautista that really got that inning started that maybe we would have had one out and nobody on and have a whole different inning.”
Without criticizing Eddings directly, Showalter supported Wieters, who isn’t one to complain often.
“Let’s put it this way,” Showalter said. “I would definitely consider the source if it’s Matt Wieters, because he has no agenda, just a pure heart about what’s right and what’s wrong."
It wasn’t the only problem the Orioles had with Eddings, who clearly missed a call in the third inning, calling a check-swing third strike on Robert Andino that wasn’t close.
“There were enough things that went along in that game to not make that matter,” Showalter said. “But you know we had a not particularly good night pitching and the umpires have a tough night in judgment every now and then.”
It was the first time an Orioles catcher was ejected since Gregg Zaun was thrown out of a game for arguing a called third strike by Hunter Wendelstedt on Aug. 2, 2009.
Here’s a complete list of ejections of current Orioles, compiled by baseball historian David Vincent: