Things got heated between the Detroit Tigers and Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend, and slugger Miguel Cabrera was at the center of the drama. It all started on Saturday, when Rays closer Fernando Rodney was struggling with his control in the tenth inning and threw a pitch up and in to Cabrera. That’s right, the tenth inning.
For whatever reason, Cabrera thought Rodney was trying to hit him intentionally in a tie game in extra inning with no outs. Cabrera barked at Rodney a bit, but nothing happened. On Sunday, Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello came up and in on Ben Zobrist in the first inning and hit him on the shoulder. Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon was not pleased.
“I thought it was absolutely uncalled for and hopefully the league will take a look at that,” Maddon said, via MLB.com’s Sam Strong. “That’s totally premeditated. There’s no question about that.
“We didn’t hit anybody. I want that to be duly noted. When this is all processed, I would hope that people process it properly.”
Zobrist agreed that Porcello hit him intentionally, noting how Cabrera is awfully “sensitive” for someone who is considered the best hitter in baseball.
“I think it was pretty clear in everyone’s minds that it was intentional after the things that were said last night,” he said. “It was at my face. I was fortunate to get out of the way enough to only get hit in the wrist. I would expect a little bit better after the words that were said.”
Cabrera got his revenge — even though none was needed — on Sunday when he smashed a towering home run into the rays tank in center field. Maddon joked about that feat after the game and praised Cabrera’s ability, but he also criticized him for complaining.
“The rays were in danger,” Maddon said. “He could have gotten a phone call or a letter from some activist group, I’m sure. It was a helium ball. I don’t debate this guy is outstanding. He’s wonderful. I just wish he wouldn’t cry so much.”
I second that. Zobrist is mostly likely right about Cabrera being frustrated that he struck out on Saturday in a crucial situation. He may be the best hitter in MLB, but he’s not good enough that someone would hit him to lead off the tenth inning of a tie game.