WASHINGTON — Matt Wieters played both games this weekend, an unusual feat for most Major League catchers, who typically get Sundays off. But that’s the benefit of playing at Wrigley Field, where afternoon games on Saturday allow catchers enough rest before catching an afternoon game on Sunday.
Wieters also had an early exit on Saturday, snagging just his third career ejection in nine Major League seasons:
“I’ve got a couple [of ejections]. They’re spread out over my career,” he said after the game. “But normally, it’s balls and strikes. I know those guys (umpires) are trying hard. I know they’re doing their best. But I just thought [the Cubs] had a different strike zone than we had. And that’s about the only time I’ll ever get heated with an umpire: when I feel their pitchers are getting more pitches than our pitchers.”
Wieters boiled over when Matt Grace didn’t get calls on the outside corner to Alex Avila or Jason Heyward. As the video shows, Grace got Heyward and Avila, but Wieters still had words walking back to the dugout.
The home plate umpire was filling in from triple-A and had a quick fuse with Wieters.
“To be honest with you, he pretty much already gave me a warning to quit arguing balls and strikes,” Wieters admitted. “I was more arguing that they had a different strike zone than we had. That’s what I thought for most of the game.
“Our left-handed hitters were getting some pitches called that were off the plate to them, and we had a couple pitches that last inning that we didn’t get that was really close, if not strikes. I thought his opinion obviously differed from mine. But I thought they had a little bit more liberal strike zone, for whatever reason, on the outside corner today.”
On Sunday, Wieters returned with a fresh mindset and a fresh home plate umpire. He also had some extra pop in his bat, crushing a grand slam in the eighth inning that sealed another victory for the Nats:
In much the same calm demeanor as he was ejected on Saturday, he reflected and celebrated on Sunday.
“You’ve got to be ready for something you can get in the air,” Wieters said. “He went first-pitch breaking ball, and out of his hand, I recognized it. And it was something that I feel I can get in the air, and it just happened to carry out.”
Just happened to carry out, more than 400 feet away. That’s about as wild a description as you’ll get from Matt Wieters.