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#pounditFriday, August 12, 2022

Mariners accuse Angels of using specific tactic to throw at hitters

Scott Servais smiling

Jun 29, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais (29) smiles before a game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Mariners made a significant accusation against the Los Angeles Angels over what may have provoked Sunday’s brawl between the two teams.

Mariners manager Scott Servais and pitcher Marco Gonzales accused the Angels of using an opener in order to throw at Mariners hitters early in Sunday’s game. Servais said the tactic was “obvious” and appeared to indirectly call out interim manager Phil Nevin over what happened.

The Angels originally had Jose Suarez lined up to start Sunday, but announced shortly before first pitch that Andrew Wantz would be the opener. Wantz threw behind Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez in the first inning, then hit Jesse Winker with a pitch to start the second, which sparked a bench-clearing brawl.

The Mariners’ accusation, essentially, is that the Angels knew they wanted to throw at Mariners players after Mike Trout criticized Seattle pitchers for throwing too close to his head. Servais is arguing that Nevin switched pitchers and made Wantz the opener, knowing that the Angels pitcher would likely be ejected for throwing at hitters. In doing so, the Angels would theoretically be able to make their statement without losing their actual starting pitcher to an ejection early in the game.

Obviously, this is a pretty big allegation to make, and would be very difficult to prove. The strongest argument the Mariners have is the Angels’ abrupt switch to an opener less than a half hour before first pitch. There is no doubt the Angels would deny this and say the move was purely strategic.

If the Mariners believe the Angels did set things up this way, it provides some context to why the on-field brawl was as heated as it turned out to be.


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