One thing expanded replay in the Major Leagues this season was expected to do was reduce the amount of ejections.
That was the case during the first month of the six-month marathon, but not so much since then.
The back-to-back heave-hos handed Mariners skipper Lloyd McClendon on Saturday and Sunday in Detroit by veteran umpire Tony Randazzo widened the gap between player-manager ejections this year compared to last.
They were, for the record, the first ejections by Randazzo all season.
Although one could argue that McClendon did not deserve to be tossed either time, the boot on Sunday hiked the season total to 163. That is only 22 fewer than all of last season and there is still plenty of time for tempers to flare during the final six weeks of the campaign.
As of Monday, McClendon was king of the kicked-out among West Division teams. He now has five ejections, two more than the Diamondbacks’ Kirk Gibson and Athletics’ manager Bob Melvin – the first ejection of the season, on March 8.
Bud Black (Padres), Walt Weiss (Rockies), Don Mattingly (Dodgers), Bruce Bochy (Giants), and Ron Washington (Rangers) have been tossed twice apiece. Mike Scioscia (Angels) and Bo Porter (Astros) have been ejected once.
Of the 163 ejections so far, it would be difficult to argue with GW’s favorite: Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
Not at all happy with plate umpire Quinn Wolcott’s strike zone, the veteran receiver asked the umpire for a new ball – with his little caveat: “One you can see.” It was bye-bye A.J.
And now for this week’s Power Rankings:
1. Angels (3): The first blown save for Huston Street after nine straight successes for the Angels occurred in his home state of Texas.
2. Athletics (1): A season-high five-game losing streak to end a road trip makes you wonder if the team misses Yoenis Cespedes more than they expected.
3. Mariners (4): Guess skipper Lloyd McClendon and umpire Tony Randazzo won’t be exchanging Christmas cards this year.
4. Dodgers (2): A favorable schedule the rest of August has the Dodgers licking their collective chops.
5. Giants (6): Is it even possible for Hunter Pence to wear his pant-legs higher than above his knees?
6. Padres: (5): Hot-hitting Yonder Alonso becomes latest casualty (torn tendon in right forearm) is yet another blow to an injury-riddled team.
7. Astros (7): Say what you want about Dustin Pedroia, but this kid Jose Altuve, a mere 5-foot-6, just might be the best overall 2B in the business.
8. Diamondbacks (8): You have to wonder if this “Show and Go” (no pre-game BP or infield drills) will catch on throughout the big leagues.
9. Rangers (9): Games like Sunday’s stunner against the Angels have been few and far between for the usual playoff contenders.
10. Rockies (10): When it comes to hitting for the cycle, Michael Cuddyer is on the short list (three) of players that have done it in both leagues.
(Last week’s ranking in parenthesis)