Tigers reliever Phil Coke came into Sunday’s game against the Red Sox with two outs, a man on second and a pair of lefties due up in Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz.
Apparently, he prefered to face Ortiz.
Coke threw the first pitch behind Gonzalez’s head and then plunked him in the back with the next one. It was obvious retaliation for the Red Sox hitting Miguel Cabrera in Saturday’s Tigers rout. Yet home plate umpire Dan Iassogna had not a clue.
After the HBP, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine came out and appeared to argue that Coke should be tossed for intentionally throwing at Gonzalez. Iassogna ignored him, but after Valentine returned to the dugout, crew chief Dale Scott met with Iassogna and seemingly instructed him to issue warnings. He certainly had no plans to otherwise.
Of course, that only further aggravated Valentine. If the umpires thought they were purpose pitches, Coke should have been tossed immediately. If they didn’t think so, why issue warnings?
Perhaps someone else would have better taken control of the situation. Iassogna, though, is one of the game’s worst umpires, and if things escalate between the Red Sox and Tigers, it’ll be in part because he was so clueless.