Brewers' Roenicke frustrated with umpiring

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By Todd Rosiak
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Friday, August 29, 2014

SAN DIEGO--Manager Ron Roenicke won’t forget Milwaukee’s first extra-inning game in more than two months.

He’ll especially remember home-plate umpire Mark Ripperger.

Roenicke was ejected in the ninth inning of the Brewers’ 3-2 10-inning loss Wednesday night against the Padres. The Brewers were off Thursday and start a three-game series at San Francisco tonight.

On Wednesday night, San Diego catcher Rene Rivera homered off Francisco Rodriguez in the ninth to send the game into extras and then drove in the winning run with a single off Zach Duke in the 10th.

Staked to a 2-1 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth, Rodriguez surrendered a solo home run to Rivera on a 2-0 count but limited the Padres to that one run.

Roenicke was ejected in the aftermath as the result of an argument with Ripperger.

To say Roenicke was furious afterward would have been an understatement. At issue was Ripperger’s generous strike zone, which Roenicke felt unfairly benefitted Padres starter Odrisamer Despaigne through the first seven innings.

There was also some lingering bad blood with regard to Ripperger, whom Roenicke felt was subpar behind the plate in a 5-2 Brewers victory over the New York Mets at Miller Park on July 26.

“This is the thing that bothers me: this is the same umpire that we had before, and he is terrible behind home plate,” said Roenicke, who was ejected for the fourth time this season. “He calls pitches that aren’t even close. The catcher sets up six inches off the plate and he calls them strikes. I should have been kicked out the last time that we saw him.

“I’m tired of sitting here watching the catcher set up off the plate and hitting his glove and (the umpire) calling it a strike. They’re balls. So Frankie misses, OK, it’s off the plate this much, the first one he calls a ball. He’s been calling it all night. The next one was a little further off, but he’s been calling that also.

“Just call the same pitches, but they’re balls. I should have been kicked out in probably the second inning today. It’s the same guy.”

Crew chief Ted Barrett spoke to a pool reporter about Ripperger, who is a Class AAA callup this season.

Major League Baseball evaluates the strike zones of all home-plate umpires, and Ripperger should receive a report on his from Major League Baseball as early as Thursday, according to Barrett.

“We’ll go over that and evaluate it and see if there were pitches missed,” Barrett said. “If there were, we’ll figure out how we can get them right, (perhaps) adjust our stance. We’ll see what we’re getting right, what we’re getting wrong.

“Without seeing it, I have no idea standing at first base.”

Asked about Despaigne, who struck out a career high nine, Roenicke again brought up Ripperger.

“He was rolling because the umpire was giving him six inches off the plate. That’s why he was rolling,” he said. “That’s a huge difference when a pitcher can throw that far off the plate. We swing the bat more than anybody in baseball. If we’re taking pitches, they’re balls. We swing.

“I went back and looked at pitches after the first inning and I couldn’t believe the pitches the guy was calling. But it’s the same thing that he did the last time to us.”

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