Livan Hernandez fined for arguing Tuesday
As baseball umpires have faced harsh criticism across the league, the Nationals joined the critical chorus after the 4-2 victory Friday night over the Reds.
After protesting a balk call from his outing Friday, starter Livan Hernandez revealed he was fined $500 for arguing from the dugout following Tuesday's loss at the Houston Astros. The Nationals lost one pitch after Bill Hohn ruled Lance Berkman had checked his swing on what would have been strike three of the final out. Replays showed Berkman swung.
"I got fined today for $500," Hernandez said. "I don't say nothing. I said, 'Bad call.' And I got fined for $500. I didn't think I would have to pay for that because I said, 'Bad call.' The guy was swinging. Everybody watched the video. I don't make the mistake. The umpire made the mistake.
"After the game, I say, it's a strike. And I got fined $500. Don't fine me. Fine the umpire. I don't make a mistake. Everybody knows who watched the video, who watched Baseball Tonight. We lost the game right there."
Hernandez was also critical of Friday night's home plate umpire, Dan Bellino. In the fifth, Hernandez yielded a leadoff single to Orlando Cabrera. With Brandon Phillips at the plate, Hernandez made a quick and, seemingly normal, pickoff move to first base. Home plate umpire Dan Bellino called a balk. Hernandez stalked toward him, asking what he had done. Manager Jim Riggleman trudged from the dugout to speak with Bellino, too.
Their protests changed nothing. With Cabrera awarded second base, Phillips lined a single to right that scored Cabrera with ease and tied the game at 2. Hernandez left an inning later, the score unchanged.
"We win the game either way, but he cost me my win," Hernandez said. "I don't know why he did that. I think he was looking to my head and see my head [move]. Everybody knows I move my head. He's a new umpire and he don't know the way I do it. Always, I move the head.
"We've had a lot of problems with umpires."
Later in the game, they had another. In the seventh, Roger Bernadina scored on a shallow sacrifice fly from pinch-hitter Willie Harris. Drew Stubbs' throw came to the plate after bounding off the mound. And then mayhem broke loose.
Reds catcher Carlos Hernandez fired to third, trying to nail Ian Desmond's aggressive move. Desmond slid in safely, but over the base. As Scott Rolen kept the tag on, the third base ump ruled him safe. Out come Dusty Baker, and over from first came notoriously active crew chief Joe West. He reversed the call, leading to third base coach Pat Listach's objection and Desmond's ejection.
Listach, in the moment, thought Desmond had stayed on the base. His real anger, though, stemmed from West throwing out Desmond. Both Desmond and Listach said Desmond did not say anything to West.
"I didn't say anything to him," Desmond said. "He didn't say anything to me. I just dropped my helmet and he said, 'You're out of here.' "
"After watching the replay, he came off the bag and Joe got the call right," Listach said. "I was disappointed the Desmond was ejected from the game. That was my whole reason for wanting to talk to Joe. He didn't have to throw him out of the game. He dropped his helmet, and Joe thought that was showing him up.
"He didn't think he was off the bag. He didn't say. Desmond's not that kind of guy. He just dropped his helmet."
Last week, the league fined West for his actions while ejecting White Sox pitcher Mark Buerhle. West carries a reputation as an umpire who often has an undue effect on the game.
"It's a big situation now with umpires," Hernandez said. "They do their best, but sometimes, I don't know. There's something we've got to do."
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