CLEVELAND: Ruben Niebla already is one up on his predecessor, Scott Radinsky, who was fired as the Indians’ pitching coach Aug. 9.
After the third of Tony Sipp’s four walks in the seventh inning Thursday, Niebla walked to the mound to talk to his pitcher and stopped to have a few words with plate umpire Paul Emmel.
Niebla didn’t like Emmel’s version of the strike zone, and Emmel didn’t like Niebla’s choice of words, so he threw him out of the game. Radinsky, who was in his first year as pitching coach, navigated more than four months of games without getting tossed.
Not that anyone is complaining about Niebla’s attitude.
“In the course of the game, I saw some inconsistencies,” Niebla said. “Going to the mound triggered me to say something.”
Niebla is a veteran minor-league coach who held the pitching coach job at Triple-A Columbus before he arrived in Cleveland. Asked if he’d ever been ejected from a minor-league game, he said, “A few times.”
Indians manager Manny Acta seemed more upset with Sipp than he did with Emmel’s ball-and-strike calls.
“With the number of walks both teams had, you had to just throw the ball over the plate,” he said. “When you walk four guys in one inning, that’s a lot of balls [the umpire] is missing. He can’t miss all 12 [actually 16]. But Ruben was fed up, so he said something. But we had too many walks.”
The Tribe is not filled with men aching to be thrown out. The ejection of Niebla was only the eighth of the season. The scorecard: Acta two, Jack Hannahan two, third-base coach Steve Smith, Jeanmar Gomez, Asdrubal Cabrera and Niebla one each.
It’s not surprising that the tempers of players, coaches and managers tend to have quicker triggers during a protracted period of losing. Since the losing began in late July, three Indians have been ejected: Acta, Cabrera and Niebla, the latter two during the current five-game losing streak.
Sheldon Ocker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at https://ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SheldonOckerABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.