Toronto Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo has already tied his career-high in ejections just 22 games into the 2022 season.
In the bottom of the fifth inning during Saturday's game against the Houston Astros, Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was at the plate looking to add to his team's 2-1 lead but was rung up on a called third strike.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) April 30, 2022
The call ended the inning and caused Guerrero Jr. to throw down his bat in frustration as he made his way back to the dugout. Montoyo went over in a hurry to defend his franchise player, who was the victim of multiple tough calls earlier in the game. Home plate umpire Nic Lentz promptly ejected him from the contest.
While the video shows that Garcia clipped the bottom of the strike zone, Guerrero Jr.’s reaction to the strikeout was likely due to pent-up frustration.
"This time it wasn't one or two pitches. It was three or more pitches that weren't even close to the strike zone," Guerrero Jr. said after the game, per Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith. “It’s frustrating, sometimes. We’re human beings.”
Home plate ump Nic Lentz has missed three calls on Vlad Guerrero Jr. today, expanding the strike zone too far outside each time. Realizing this, Guerrero Jr. slammed his bat in frustration after getting called out on strikes for the second time today #BlueJays pic.twitter.com/QoQcRVsRfp
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) April 30, 2022
#BlueJays' Vlad Guerrero Jr. has been visibly frustrated by some strike calls this year. Does he have a point?
On the left is today's zone. On the right, all the called strikes on him this season: pic.twitter.com/viZ29VmN71
— Kaitlyn McGrath (@kaitlyncmcgrath) April 30, 2022
The first baseman had to deal with multiple called strikes outside of the actual zone on Saturday. And for how short this season has been so far, that’s a lot of wrong calls sprayed all over the border.
This was Montoyo’s second ejection of the 2022 season, which is off-brand for the easygoing skipper, who accumulated just four ejections in the previous three seasons combined. He’s way ahead of schedule in these games that clearly mean more with greater expectations this year.
"(I was) deflecting attention from my MVP," Montoyo told reporters post-game. "I'd rather watch the game from the office than have Vlad watch the game from the office."
The Blue Jays were already critically burned earlier this season by one of the worst umpiring performances since they have been able to be tracked. Whether it is the officials hating the travel north of the border or some other reason, the umpiring is clearly not working in Toronto’s favour early in 2022.
With Montoyo watching from the clubhouse, the Blue Jays were able to hold on for a tense 2-1 victory over the Astros to even their three-game series at one apiece.
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