It never came to blows between the Red Sox and Yankees this week, but it almost did with the Tribe in town tonight. After Fausto Carmona hit Mark Teixeira with a pitch in the second inning, the benches and the bullpens emptied, though no blows were exchanged.
The Indians were down 4-0 when a wild Carmona drilled Teixeira. The previous batter, Curtis Granderson, had just homered. There probably wasn’t a whole lot of intention on Carmona’s part. He struggled with his control right from the start tonight, walking three batters in the first inning.
But intentional or not, Teixeira did take offense. He had just just gotten hit by the Red Sox on Tuesday, knocking him out of the game with a bruised knee. Carmona’s plunking made it seven HBPs for him this season, and while Teixeira has always crowded the plate, that’s well ahead of his usual pace. His career high for HBPs is 14, established in his rookie season in 2003. He was hit 13 times last year.
Carmona and Teixeira jawed afterwards, and while it didn’t seem like anyone on either team wanted to throw a punch, managers Manny Acta and Joe Girardi got into a very heated discussion in the middle of the infield before things eventually calmed down.
This is just the opener of a four-game series, so there could be more to come.
Blue Jays closer Ken Giles hasn’t exactly turned things around since joining the Blue Jays on July 31, when the club sent embattled closer Roberto Osuna to the Astros. Giles posted a 4.99 ERA in 30 2/3 innings with the Astros, then put up a slightly less miserable 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings with the Jays. Still, he’s much happier with the Jays than he was with the Astros, even after winning the World Series with them last year. He said to Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star, “I’m actually enjoying the game more than I did for my entire tenure in Houston. It’s kind of weird to say that because I won a World Series with that team. But it’s like, I just felt trapped there. I didn’t feel like myself there. Overall, I felt out of place.”
Giles also said “the communication was lost” with the Astros and it was something that came easy with the Jays. He said, “When I came here, they stayed patient with me. I said hey, I want to work on this thing till I’m comfortable. All right. OK, I’m comfortable, let’s move on to this next thing. Pitching, you can’t just try to fix everything at once. For me, I had to take baby steps to get my groove back. The Jays allowed me to do that. Yeah, the team was out of contention, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still my career. I still have to prove myself. Them being so patient with me, understanding what I want to do, was very, very big.”
Giles, 28, has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining. He has shown promise despite his overall mediocre numbers. In non-save situations this season (with both the Astros and Jays), he has a 9.12 ERA. But in save situations, his ERA is a pristine 0.38. Giles could be a closer the Jays find themselves leaning on as they attempt to get back into competitive shape. Since it sounds like Giles is quite enamored with Toronto and with the Blue Jays, a discussion about a contract extension certainly could be had.