Phillies' Thomson ejected after pitch clock doesn't reset for Nola

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JUNE 10: Manager Rob Thomson #59 of the Philadelphia Phillies argues with third base umpire Bill Miller during the sixth inning of a game after a warning was given to Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola #27 for throwing too many

Phillies manager Rob Thomson was ejected in the sixth inning of Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers for arguing when plate umpire Roberto Ortiz wouldn’t reset the pitch clock after Aaron Nola requested a new baseball.

The umpires felt Nola was stalling to get around pitch clock rules that were imposed prior to this season. Pitchers have 15 seconds to deliver a pitch with nobody on and 20 seconds if there is a baserunner.

"As the game went on, he started to throw more and more balls out where we felt he was trying to reset the clock, which is an attempt to circumvent the pitch-clock regulations," third base umpire Bill Miller, the crew chief, told a pool reporter. "It’s up to the umpire’s judgment if any player, at any time, is attempting to circumvent the pitch clock regulations."

While facing David Peralta with two outs, Nola took a return throw from catcher J.T. Realmuto, circled behind the mound, indicated to Ortiz that he wanted a new baseball and threw the one he had toward the Phillies dugout. Ortiz handed a ball to Realmuto but put both arms out to his side, and the clock was not reset. It appeared that there were 10 seconds on the clock when Nola threw the baseball away.

"He never felt the ball until he took it out and wanted another one," Miller said.

Thomson emerged from the dugout and began a heated exchange with Ortiz, then became even more vehemently upset with Miller, who tossed the manager.

"Part of the rule says you aren’t supposed to delay, but it doesn’t specifically talk about tossing baseballs out," Thomson said. "Baseballs are all different. They feel different in a pitcher’s hand. Sometimes they get slick. I don’t know how you can tell a pitcher is throwing away a baseball because he doesn’t feel it or is trying to stall unless you’re a mind reader."

Nola seemed to indicate both that he was trying to buy some extra time, as Miller said, and that the ball he threw away was slick.

"I was feeling it and walking back to the mound," he said. "The clock had started. I wanted to throw the ball off to get an extra second. Guess they didn’t like that. Balls are slick. I need to rub them up. Sometimes they’re chalky, sometimes they’re slick, sometimes the seams are bigger than others, sometimes they’re smaller."

Asked specifically if he didn’t like the ball he threw away when the clock was not reset, Nola said, "There were several that I didn’t like, yeah."

Nola also was asked if not being able to rub down balls can create a dangerous situation with pitchers throwing slippery baseballs.

"Sure," he said. "That’s why you rub them up. You see a lot of guys rub baseballs up. That’s what we’ve always done our whole career. It’s just a natural thing that we do."

Nola has frequently requested new balls during games this season, but umpires had obliged his requests without incident.

"Nobody said a word about it until today," Thomson said.

Phillies fans gave Thomson a loud ovation as he walked off the field. The manager angrily folded his game notes when he returned to the dugout before leaving for his clubhouse office.

Thomson was ejected for the second time as Phillies manager. He was tossed on May 14 for arguing balls and strikes in a 4-0 loss at Colorado.

The pitcher must start his delivery before the clock expires. After a pitch, the clock starts again when the pitcher has the ball back, the catcher and batter are in the circle around home plate, and play is otherwise ready to resume. When a pitcher fails to throw a pitch in time, the penalty is an automatic ball.

"Some of these rules are a little vague," Thomson said.