Home plate umpire Mike Winters allegedly criticized A.J. Ellis’ framing ability

Friday night, A.J. Ellis and Don Mattingly of the Dodgers were ejected for arguing balls and strikes in St. Louis. According to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, Ellis became furious when home plate and crew chief Mike Winters criticized his framing ability.

“Their job is to call balls and strikes,” Ellis said. “It’s not their job to be a catching coach behind the plate. It’s not their job to be critical of what I’m doing. It shouldn’t even matter if there’s a catcher there or not. The ball comes through a zone and they need to take a look at that.

“People on blogs and websites can critique my framing but I’m not going to take it from an umpire because it’s not their job to do that. It’s their job to call balls and strikes based on what comes through a strike zone.”

Winters declined to speak to a pool reporter according to Plunkett, but did say through a Cardinals’ official that the issue was about balls and strikes, while “the rest of it stays private.”

Home plate umpires should be able to call balls and strikes without paying attention to pitch framing. Naturally the catcher’s ability to frame will have an effect on calls, but the umpire shouldn’t rely on frame jobs.

The Dodgers (28-18) fell to the Cardinals Friday night 3-0 and fell into second place in the National League West. They play game two out of three this afternoon with Carlos Frias (3-2, 5.34) and Michael Wacha (7-0, 1.87) facing off.

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