Thursday, August 19, 2010

Beanball Battle

This is going to be another short post (at least, as far as actual game analysis goes), because it was the seventh inning by the time I got home (Therefore, while 9-5 was the final score, it feels to me like the Yankees won 2-1 because that was the only scoring I experienced). I don’t know if the retaliation mindset threw off Jeremy Bonderman or not. I do know that he’s now given up quite a few home runs recently. And I get the feeling that this isn’t like his last start, where he got punished for every bad pitch he made but had several good pitches in-between. This time he just kept making bad pitches. Brad Thomas and Enrique Gonzalez also made bad pitches. Both teams had the long ball going. The Yankees have been more willing to pitch to Miguel Cabrera than the Rays or White Sox were, but they might not be so willing anymore now that Cabrera’s hit three home runs in the series (He has regained the RBI lead, but all his home runs have been solo shots). Don Kelly’s home run was definitely of the Yankee Stadium jetstream variety, but it still counts.

Okay, I guess I have to address the beanball war that’s been going on. It all started with Brett Gardner’s takeout slide of Guillen that eventually landed him on the DL (say what you will about Guillen’s tendency to get injured, but just about every second baseman would’ve suffered the same fate on that play). A lot of fans online are saying it was a dirty slide. Guillen’s also saying it was a dirty slide. I really don’t know, because I don’t have THAT much experience watching dirty slides. Gardner’s a very fast runner, so it would not take him very long to get to the base, and late slides are generally allowed. Those same fans who are calling it a dirty slide also hate the Yankees with a passion, and are looking for any excuse to hate them even more. I don’t know what to make of their assessment unless I see their reaction to an identical play from a member of a team they are indifferent about (like, say, the Mariners or something). As far as Guillen goes, well, he does have a reputation as somewhat of a whiner (just look up some of the things he said early last season about his playing time and not wanting to DH). Still, I understand the team wanting to stand up for their injured comrade, and Bonderman’s known for not being afraid to retaliate. It got really screwy when the umpire issued warnings after Bonderman hit Gardner, but then proceeded to not eject anyone once the retaliation began in earnest (except for Leyland, and Leyland really had to work to get himself ejected). If there was any point to issuing the warnings, then Chad Gaudin probably should have gotten ejected for hitting Cabrera, and if Gaudin should have gotten ejected, then Enrique Gonzalez should also have been ejected for throwing behind Derek Jeter (I’m not sure if he was trying to hit the other guys he ended up walking, since a lot of pitches missed way inside, but if he was, he wasn’t very good at it).

The series and the road trip wraps up today (and there is no way that this game will be over by the time I have to go to work). Somewhat fittingly, Rick Porcello is starting for the Tigers (everyone remembers the brawl in Boston last year). He is coming off a very good start against the White Sox, a team he had had no success against previously. He has made two previous starts against the Yankees in his career, one good, one bad (the good one came earlier this year). Both those games were at Comerica Park. He’s never pitched at Yankee Stadium, and being from New Jersey, a lot of his family will be in attendance. And we also know that he’s not afraid to retaliate either. However, if I may say something, he’s free to retaliate if he feels the need to, but I would prefer that he wait until he’s close to the end of his outing, preferably in the seventh or eighth inning. Getting ejected in the second or third is not going to be very helpful. Yes, it was awesome that he took down Youkilis in Boston, but he also potentially cost his team a win in a season where one win made the difference. The Yankees will start Phil Hughes. I’m not sure what his take on retaliation is, but I do know that the Tigers have not done much against him since 2008. They got to him a bit the first two times they saw him (once in 2007, once in 2008), but they’ve done next to nothing since. In his last two starts against Detroit, he’s shut them out (there were also a couple relief appearances mixed in there in which he didn’t give up anything either).  


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