The Mets suffered a historic 25-4 loss Tuesday night against the Nationals, but strangely, the most visible suffering came from a Washington reliever.
Who, after the blowup, is no longer a Washington reliever.
Tasked with closing out the Nationals’ 25-1 lead over the Mets in the ninth inning, Shawn Kelley allowed three runs on four hits, including a two-run homer by Austin Jackson. Following the home run, Kelley threw his glove to the ground and glared toward his dugout. And a day later, the 34-year-old Kelley was DFA’d, the Nationals ripping him on the way out.
“You’re either in or you’re in the way. He was in the way,” GM Mike Rizzo said, via the Washington Post, adding that Kelley slamming his glove was “selfish.”
Kelley, the former Yankee, claimed his meltdown wasn’t because he was angry at the mop-up duty.
“You can ask everybody in the bullpen. When [Wander] Suero’s pitch count got up, I said, ‘I’ve probably got the ninth.’ I figured I was the freshest reliever and I was going to throw the ninth,” Kelley told reporters, via the Washington Post. “Like I said, for me, I’m not justifying it. I should not have thrown my glove and acted like a baby out there. But at the same time, I’m acting like it’s one to one for me. I’m giving it everything I’ve got.”
Kelley instead blamed the collapse on his arguments with the umpires, who were pestering him about his pace.
Second base umpire Tripp Gibson III and Kelley had a heated conversation just before Jackson’s home run. And home plate umpire Adrian Johnson also went back and forth with Kelley, who believed that the same calls that were sliding earlier in the game were now not going his way.
“[Johnson] told me to slow down. I was a) just trying to keep it going, and b) I’ve used the quick pitch sometimes. He told me to slow down one time, and the other guy behind me [at second base] told me I had to come set or it’s a balk,” Kelley said. “… Then the home plate umpire was telling me to hurry up. I was like, ‘But you told me to slow down.’ It was kind of frustrating. That’s all that was about.”
Washington teammates Ryan Madson and Max Scherzer reportedly approached Kelley following the blowout and patted him on the back. Nationals manager Dave Martinez believed that Kelley was simply frustrated with the umpires.
“I think the homer, and the whole thing with trying to pitch fast and the umpire telling him to stop,” Martinez said. “He was arguing. I gather that’s what it was.”
Before the DFA, Kelley was having a solid year, pitching to a 3.34 ERA in 32 1/3 innings.
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