Boston Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino has practically eliminated the possibility of opposing pitchers pitching him inside this season. Because of a hamstring injury, the switch-hitting Victorino has been batting right-handed for most of the year. When he bats from the right side, Victorino crowds the crap out of the plate.
As a result, he has turned himself into a walking bruise and already tied the record for being hit by the most pitches in a single postseason. Victorino has been hit nine times. Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander feels The Flyin’ Hawaiian is wearing some of those pitches on purpose.
“I’ve seen some pitches that he got hit on that were strikes,” Verlander said on Monday, via Julian Benbow of the Boston Globe. “So, I mean, I don’t think you can worry about that. I think just whoever is the home plate umpire needs to be aware that he’s up there.
“Anything on the inner half, occasionally he’s looking to get hit. He’s up there, he’s right on top of the plate. And his arms are over the batter’s box and over part of the plate. If he doesn’t get out of the way, there could be an occasion that it could be a strike and it actually hits him.”
Unless he physically leans into the pitch (which Victorino may or may not have done this postseason), there is nothing illegal about the way he’s standing. And even if it was against the rules, the 32-year-old veteran knows most umpires would never call it. When asked about Verlander’s comments, Victorino said he is disappointed Verlander thinks he has been hit by strikes.
“It’s not like the umpires don’t know that I’m close to the plate,” Victorino said, via MLive.com’s Evan Drellich. “But you know, I’m not going to alter my approach and nor do I expect a pitcher to change theirs. Other than the fact, the only part that disappoints me in that quote, he thinks I’m getting hit by strikes. To me that’s — that to me is what disappoints me more than anything.”
Victorino has given new meaning to the phrase “take one for the team.” Game 3 of the ALCS is a bad time to change anything you’ve been doing all season.
H/T Hardball Talk