Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Jim Leyland caused Rick Porcello suspension and Detroit Tigers could pay severe price

As much as I appreciate Tigers manager Jim Leyland giving a straight answer to a straight question, sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.
When he essentially announced to writers Saturday there was going to be payback for a high-and-tight pitch from Tampa Bay's Fernando Rodney to Detroit star slugger Miguel Cabrera, it setup a scenario where Major League Baseball had no choice but to suspend Rick Porcello for hitting the Rays' Ben Zobrist Sunday.
The Tigers, given their bullpen woes and a largely struggling starting rotation, were fortunate Porcello wasn't thrown out of the game immediately. The standard umpire warning was given to both dugouts at that point, and Porcello pitched six innings. As is, the suspension will have Porcello needing to push back a start. That probably means Jose Alvarez on Friday night in a key game at Cleveland, which is neck-and-neck with the Tigers at the top of the AL Central. Porcello is no Matt Harvey, but Alvarez has been lit up like a pinball machine in his last couple starts.
Jim Leyland, Rick Porcello: Sometimes better to be smart than tough
If the Tigers wanted to protect Cabrera, hit a Tampa Bay hitter and act like the ball just got away. Don't announce it. Be smart picking your spot, you know, kind of like a hockey player taking somebody's number and having a long memory. The way it was done announced intent. If MLB let the Tigers slide on this, Leyland's pronouncement would soon become standard practice and chaos would ensue. This nips it in the bud.
In other words, be tough, but be smart, too. As is, the Rays are getting the last laugh on this. The suspension could set off a chain of events that costs the Tigers a game or two. If that does happen, and the Tigers and Tampa Bay are in a fight for a wildcard spot, it will benefit the Rays greatly.
Oh, and that was an expensive pitch for Porcello. He is being paid $5.1 million for this season. The suspension, if it stands at six games, will cost Porcello nearly $189,000. And for what? A bunch of false bravado that, honestly, doesn't protect Cabrera as much as hurt the team.


Blogger spencersteel said...

Total ridiculousness on every level. If Leyland simply orders Porcello to plunk someone, there's an umpire warning and that's the end of it. Instead, by playing it coy/disingenuous, there are ramifications as you point out in your article.

Of course the bigger issue is the beanball in general. A ball that gets away and injures a player is a shame; a ball thrown intentionally at a player is a crime. This isn't a video game - a ball traveling at 90+ MPH can do very serious damage if it strikes a player. MLB umpires and the league office, for whatever their other shortcomings may be, do a very good job of policing HBP situations and the idea that the players best handle things themselves has been proven false over and over, most recently in Los Angeles earlier this year with the Greinke-Quentin-Kennedy nonsense and again in Tampa last weekend.

3:50 PM 
Anonymous Michael C said...

Looks like you were wrong about Benoit being unable to close, eh Pat?

Common sense - 1
Conventional baseball wisdom - 0

12:33 AM 

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