Kemp irked by strike zone in Dodgers' Game 3 loss

Kemp irked by strike zone in Dodgers' Game 3 loss

ST. LOUIS -- Called out on strikes leading off the ninth inning, Matt Kemp told plate umpire Dale Scott what he thought of the strike zone.

A few minutes later, after the Dodgers' 3-1 loss to the Cardinals in Game 3 of the National League Division Series on Monday night, Kemp told reporters what some of his teammates were apparently thinking but not saying publicly.

"Terrible strike zone," Kemp said, knowing he likely will hear from the Commissioner's Office. "Never seen anything like it. It's disappointing. You've got guys battling, two good teams going at it and it's supposed to be about the teams, not about the umpire. He took the bats out of our hands."

  Date   Matchup Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 3   STL 10, LAD 9 video
Gm 2 Oct. 4   LAD 3, STL 2 video
Gm 3 Oct. 6   STL 3, LAD 1 video
Gm 4 Oct. 7   STL 3, LAD 2 video

Kemp, who also struck out in the sixth inning, said Scott was calling strikes on pitches that "were in the other batter's box."

"They've just got to be accountable," he said. "We mess up on the field, people talk about it, we get sent down when we play bad. … [John] Lackey is a good pitcher. But some of the calls were not good calls. You guys saw the game. I've never reacted this way when it comes to the strike zone. This by far was the worst I've ever seen."

In Kemp's sixth-inning at-bat against Lackey, the Cardinals right-hander started him off with a fastball for a called strike from Scott that MLB.com's Pitch-f/x data indicated was in the upper part of the strike zone. The second offering in the at-bat, however, was a borderline fastball that was not a clear strike and might have been a hair outside. Again, Scott called it a strike, putting Kemp in an 0-2 hole that he could not climb out from, eventually striking out on a low cutter on the fifth pitch of the at-bat.

In the ninth inning, facing St. Louis closer Trevor Rosenthal, Kemp led off the inning for the Dodgers and took a called strike on the first pitch, which hit the inside corner at the top of the strike zone, according to Pitch-f/x. Kemp worked the count to 2-2 after fouling off a pitch and taking two balls, but he was called out on strikes on the fifth pitch of the at-bat, a 98 mph fastball that, again, was on the border of the low end of the strike zone on the outside.

"I thought Dale was very generous," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "We had a lot of guys complaining about the strike zone. And we felt like he was really generous. And it puts you on a bind. You keep giving pitches, changing counts. Obviously, you can't go too far with it. But real generous."

Dodgers hitters struck out 10 times, Cardinals hitters five times. There were three walks.

Scott, 55, is the chief of this crew and has been umpiring in the Major Leagues since 1986.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.