Phillies manager Rob Thomson became the latest skipper to end up embroiled in a controversy surrounding MLB’s new pitch clock rules on Saturday, leading to his rather rapid ejection during a game against the Dodgers.
In the sixth inning of Philadelphia’s 9–0 loss to Los Angeles, Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola absent-mindedly tossed a baseball that he had no interest in throwing over to the dugout. Home plate umpire Roberto Ortiz and crew chief Bill Miller objected to Nola’s request to swap out the ball, much to the confusion of the Phillies ace.
No one was more upset at the response from the umpires than Thomson, who quickly came out of the dugout to give Ortiz a piece of his mind. Miller came over to intervene and eventually opted to eject the Philadelphia manager from the ballgame as the protest continued.
Rob Thomson was ejected after the umpires had an issue with how many baseballs Aaron Nola was discarding pic.twitter.com/C2WsmMq7qt— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) June 10, 2023
After the game, Miller explained that he and the umpiring crew viewed Nola’s recurring decision to swap out baseballs as a way to “circumvent” the league’s pitch clock rules. Under current regulations, pitchers have 15 seconds to deliver a pitch with nobody on base and 20 seconds if there is a baserunner.
“As the game went on, he started to throw more and more balls out where we felt he was trying to reset the clock, which is an attempt to circumvent the pitch clock regulations,” Miller said to a pool reporter after the game. “It’s up to the umpire’s judgment if any player, at any time, is attempting to circumvent the pitch clock regulations.”
Thomson also offered up his own point of view on the events during a postgame press conference, exclaiming that the league’s pitch clock rules don’t specify that swapping out baseballs could be seen as a delay. He continued by defending his starting pitcher and pointing out that the texture of baseballs is easily changeable.
Here's what Rob Thomson had to say about his ejection: pic.twitter.com/KdnUuz6TZi— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) June 10, 2023
Nola also didn’t last long after Thomson’s ejection as he was removed after 6 1/3 innings of work. The 30-year-old finished his outing having given up six earned runs on seven hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.