Sunday's Angels-Tigers game lived up to its hype. Billed as a pitchers duel between two of the AL's best, it fell just shy of pistols from becoming an actual duel. Both Jered Weaver and Justin Verlander entered the day with a 5.1 fWAR, good for second in the American League. Weaver and Verlander were also in the top four in ERA, FIP and WPA. But those will all be topics for a future post, this is about one day game and what happened close to the chalk lines.
The excitement started in the bottom of the third inning. After Weaver managed to somehow put Don Kelly on base with a walk, Magglio Ordonez hit a hanging change-up 388 feet. Ordonez watched the ball stay fair for the two-run home run. Weaver took exception to the time it took Ordonez to leave the batter's box and shot him a combo stink/evil eye as he rounded the bases. Weaver shook it off and retired the next 12 Tigers he faced.
Fast forwarding to the bottom of the seventh inning, Weaver surrendered a solo home run to Carlos Guillen. Guillen, unlike Ordonez earlier, deliberately showed up the Angels ace by watching the homer, flipping his bat and turning toward Weaver during a sideways trot to first. Home Plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt went to the mound in an attempt to cool off the visibly upset Weaver and issued warnings to both benches. Cooler heads would prevail until Weaver's very next pitch.
Weaver threw over Mike Avila's head and began walking off the mound and yelling at Guillen in the dugout before Wendelstedt could make the ejection motion. I certainly don't condone a pitcher throwing at another player's head and I'm afraid a suspension is looming. Personally I choose to believe that pitch got away from Weaver and wasn't meant for Avila's head. I don't cheer for retaliation.
In the meantime, Verlander was just tossing another no-hitter through seven innings. Still 3-0, Erick Aybar led of the eighth inning with a "violation of the unwritten rules of no-hitter decency" bunt. Verlander fielded it, threw it away and got the benefit of some home cooking from the scorer. Ruled an error, Verlander kept his no-hitter in tact. Mark Trumbo grounded Aybar to third and then Aybar would score on a bizarre fielder's choice/rundown between third and home. Howie Kendrick struck out before Maicer Izturis broke up the no-hitter with a liner into left field.
Verlander had some choice words for Aybar which seemed to indicate a fastball has Ayabar's name on it next time around. Jose Valverde closed the game to give the Tigers a 3-2 win. Now for some post game quotes courtesy of ESPN.com...
"I had a lot of respect for those guys, but then they stand at the plate and do something like that," Weaver said. "I'm not going to try to hit someone, but what Guillen did crossed the line."See? Told you guys he wasn't trying to hit Avila.
"I don't hit many homers anymore, and I wanted to make sure that it stayed fair," Ordonez said. "After that, he was yelling at me to run faster, and I told him that I'm old -- that's as fast as I run.Funny and true.
"I'm not going to show anyone up. That's not me."
"Magglio has 14 years in the major leagues," said Guillen, one of Ordonez's closest friends. "You don't tell him to run. I respect people when they respect us. If you don't respect us, you don't get it."Guillen defending respect with one asshole action after another.
"I know it was only 3-0, so I can understand there are arguments on both sides. But as a pitcher, we call that bush league," he (Verlander) said. "I think he was trying to get his team back into the game, but I also think it was a response to things that had happened before."Blame that respectmonger Guillen.
"That's my game -- I don't have power," he (Aybar) said. "(Verlander) told me he'd get me next year, and I said that was OK."While true, Aybar has more home runs this season than Ordonez and Guillen combined. It was a little dick-ish. Awesome. And a little dick-ish.
And then Torii Hunter summed it all up.
"That was stupid -- it was all stupid. Everybody was stupid," he said. "That was unprofessional on both sides."Maybe. Or best game of the season.