The Tigers seem to be pretty upset about last night’s 4-3 extra innings loss at the hands of the Rays, but it isn’t the loss alone that’s not sitting well with the team especially manager Jim Leyland and slugger Miguel Cabrera.
Much of the tension is stemming from the 10th inning when former Tiger reliever Fernando Rodney threw a high and tight pitch to Cabrera who didn’t take it very lightly given Rodney’s notable wildness. Cabrera eventually struck out during the at bat but the initial sequence kept Cabrera steamed as he headed back to dugout continuing to yell expletives towards either Rodney, the Rays dugout or both.
Leyland commented after the game that he didn’t believe his former reliever intentionally threw at Cabrera’s head but did stress that if you can’t control your inside pitches then you shouldn’t be pitching inside.
“I didn’t think there was anything last night that went on,” Leyland said, referring to intention. “I was just asked my opinion about it and I had the same philosophy I’ve always had: If you’re going to pitch inside, you better have control.
“If you can’t control the ball, then don’t throw it there. Pitching inside is part of the game. I don’t blame anyone for pitching inside.
“That was a heck of a confrontation and a very interesting at-bat, but if you can’t control the ball up there, you can’t do that.”
It also sounds as if Leyland is hinting that retaliation could be in order over what happened.
“To throw up there in that area (the head) is not acceptable. Somebody pays a price for that throughout baseball. That’s the way baseball is. That’s not free. There’s no free lunch.”
This could be the first time any Tiger has accused Fernando Rodney of throwing a pitch in a particular location on purpose.
— Jason Beck (@beckjason) June 30, 2013
Meanwhile Rodney claimed that there was no intention but reiterated that you have to go inside on batters and he’d do it again if he had to.
“You have to pitch inside, outside, everywhere.”
“That’s just the way I pitch. I’d do it again.”
“It seems like Miguel might have been upset, and I really don’t know why, but it looked like he was. You’d have to ask him specifically because there was no ill intent going on out there.”I was just watching the whole thing. I was kind of surprised actually.”
Perhaps though going high and tight on Cabrera is the only way to get him out? ESPN Stats and Info comprised this graphic on what Cabrera was hitting during his 13 game hitting streak and where on the plate. The numbers are pretty ridiculous.
Miguel Cabrera is hitting .490 during his 13-game hit streak. Where do you pitch to him? pic.twitter.com/SGSf8tKpK2
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 29, 2013
There is not known animosity between Cabrera and Rodney who were teammates on the Tigers back in 2008-09 but it’s pretty clear he won’t be having dinner with him anytime soon. Last night’s events should also make today’s series finale much more interesting considering Leyland’s comments and who’s tower Rodney buzzed. Cabrera had no comment after the game on the matter.
On a side note, Porcello goes for the Tigers in the finale and as we’ve seen before he’s no stranger to getting his hands dirty. Two points for that take down on Youkilis!
h/t: ESPN, USA Today, Detroit News