BOSTON — The Tampa Bay Rays were far more pleased with Friday’s umpiring than the Red Sox.
While Red Sox manager John Farrell expressed frustration with how Friday’s dramatic game — in which him, bench coach Torey Lovullo, third base coach Brian Butterfield and starter Brandon Workman were ejected — was handled by the umpires, Rays manager Joe Maddon expressed approval of the boys in blue. Rays starter David Price even acknowledged that the umps gave him the benefit of the doubt in the first inning after he drilled David Ortiz.
“(Crew chief Jeff Kellogg) told me that they were going to give me the benefit of the doubt and they didn’t think I meant to do it on purpose and that they needed me to be a leader in the dugout after the inning, make sure that we keep our heads on straight,” Price said after the game. “I felt we did that and lost a tough game.
“I have to establish my fastball in,” Price added while explaining the situation. “I had six lefties in that lineup. It’s my favorite side of the plate to go to so, I’ve got to establish it in.”
Home plate umpire Dan Bellino issued warnings to both benches after Price plunked Ortiz in the first inning. Farrell was upset that Price wasn’t ejected, and the skipper’s argument ultimately led to his own ejection.
Price hit Mike Carp in the fourth inning, which caused the benches to empty and Ortiz to seek out the veteran left-hander. Price said he didn’t hit Carp on purpose but totally understands why the first baseman was upset following that particular incident.
“It’s not the pitch I’m trying to throw,” said Price, whose pitch to Carp sailed up and in. “It’s not the pitch. If I was trying to hit him, that’s nowhere near the region it’s going to be. I didn’t mean to do that.
“I didn’t say anything. I completely understand how mad he was before his next at-bat. I just gave him a head nod. It’s the same thing I did in Tampa. He was coming to the plate after his first at-bat in the first (inning) and I told him, ‘My bad.’ He gave me a head nod as well. I completely get it.”
The Ortiz-Price beef is what everyone will continue to talk about, though. Ortiz had some choice words for Price after the game, believing the pitcher’s ill will stems from last season’s ALDS, when Big Papi took the southpaw deep twice in Game 2. Price insists that isn’t the case but wouldn’t be shocked if the current tension between the Red Sox and Rays lingers a little longer.
“I’m sure it will,” Price said.