A day after Tampa’s Fernando Rodney attempted to use the head of Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera for target practice, Rays skipper Joe Maddon called Rick Porcello’s plunking of Ben Zobrist, “absolutely uncalled for”. And summarily tackled the precise reason why the purpose pitch aimed at Zobrist was, y’know, called for, labeling Cabrera a crybaby. There’s no mystery which side the Tampa Tribune’s Martin Fennelly is on, suggesting Tigers manager Jim Leyland has gone a little overboard in protecting his superstar.
There is another term for what Rodney did to Cabrera. It is called “pitching.” Push the man off the plate, then give him one outside. Cabrera leads the majors with a .373 average and 81 RBIs. What does he want, anyway, the ball placed on a tee?
Leyland looks like a goofball. He’s old school, so he knew Rodney wasn’t trying to hit Cabrera in a tie game in the 10th with Prince Fielder up next. Sunday morning, Leyland said Saturday night was “history.” Guess it wasn’t.
It was an easy call for Leyland, given the choice between hitting Zobrist or explaining to his sensitive main man why he didn’t.
I guess all of this would be more palatable if two pitchers, Alex Cobb and J.A. Happ, hadn’t recently been hit in their skulls by line drives at the Trop.