Sunday, July 31, 2011

Angels vs Tigers

It's always exciting to see two great pitchers in MLB going head-to-head in what appears to be a duel for the Cy Young award. There is no denying that Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers are excellent pitchers this year. They are both the same age, with very similar records.

Today's match-up took place in Comerica Park, in Detroit. There was no doubt that it would be a good game. Both teams remained at 0-0, until the bottom of the 3rd inning, when Magglio Ordonez of the Tigers hit a 2-run home run. Aside from the runs scored, there's no harm in a home run, right? Well, if you take your time out of the batter's box and admire your shot before you start running, then there's a problem. I will give Magglio the benefit of the doubt, though. It does look like the reason why he took a while was he was looking to see if the ball was fair or foul. That could be why he took a while.

Fast forward to the bottom of the 7th inning. Jered Weaver throws a 3-2 pitch to Carlos Guillen, who smacks the ball for a solo shot to right field. Another batter, who takes his time leaving the batter's box, starts walking, and let's go of his bat in a rude fashion. After a few steps, Guillen and Weaver exchange words as Guillen picks up the pace to round the bases. Home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt notices the exchange and issues a warning to each bench.

You can see the incident here.

What happened next is what got things very interesting. The following batter, after Guillen, was Alex Avila. Jered Weaver, displeased with the two home runs, decides to throw at Avila's head. I understand that Weaver is upset over the two batters, but to throw at someone's head intentionally? That's a big no-no. I was hoping Weaver took the high road and just let things go, but he didn't. As a result, Weaver was ejected from the game.

I never was a fan of pitchers throwing at batter's heads. I like Weaver, but I don't agree with what he did. I'm thinking his actions might affect the outcome of his Cy Young chances at the end of this year.

In the 8th inning, Erick Aybar of the Angels attempts to drop a bunt for a single, which can be seen here. Aybar reaches first base on a throwing error by Verlander. Apparently, Verlander was upset at this because he felt Aybar was trying to ruin Justin's no-hitter with such a cheap base hit. That's what all the Tiger fans seem to think... that it was OK for Verlander to be upset. I guess they don't know what type of player Erick Aybar is.

Aybar drops bunts for base hits all the time, maybe not so much as before, but that's what he does. Especially when the Angels are only down by 3 runs. It's a close game, and his job is to get on base. He's helping his team. Aybar eventually ends up scoring for the Angels' first run. So why is Verlander upset?

He was so upset, that he decides to threaten Aybar. Yes.. threaten.


As far as I can see, if you're down by 3 runs, it's a situational bunt. It just so happens that Verlander is throwing a no-hitter up to this point. All Aybar was trying to do was get on base and help his team.

After the game, Verlander called Aybar's bunt "Bush League". He also went on to say "that little guy.. he threw an elbow at me" after Aybar scored from third during a rundown.

It's funny how Tiger fans only mention Aybar's bunt, yet they have nothing to say about their two batters showing off after their respective home runs. I can assure you that if any two batters hit home runs off of Verlander, and performed the same actions, Verlander would also be upset.

There is no doubt that there two teams will remember today during the upcoming match-ups. Next year should be interesting, unless they meet up in the 2011 post-season.

It's on... like Donkey Kong.