Joe Maddon: people throw at us intentionally; we never do it

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A commenter said yesterday that Joe Maddon often accuses other teams of throwing at his players but that he has never even once hinted that the Rays do the same. Here he was on a radio show yesterday talking about the Red Sox doing just that — and the Red Sox doing nothing — over the weekend:

I guess Adrian Gonzalez had made a comment about hitting a home run and it just happens that night that Matt Moore hits him with a pitch that’s inside and not at him. All of a sudden there is something made out of that and then Luke Scott is intentionally hit in that game. Again they must have a little program up there that if one of their guys gets hit you are going to hit them back regardless of the situation and that’s what it appeared to be to me. Beyond that listen we do not do that. I’m telling you we don’t do that.

Did you think Bobby Valentine ordered his pitchers to throw at your hitters? It seemed that way:

“It was contrived. There’s no question it was a contrived situation. It was very obvious and again that is what I am talking about. You got to be very careful because when you do that as a manager of a team eventually it can get your own guys hurt and that’s what could happen. I would bet to a man none of the Red Sox players appreciated any of that.”

Flash forward to yesterday’s White Sox-Rays game, it seemed pretty darn obvious that Rays pitcher Alex Cobb intentionally threw at both Gordon Beckham and A.J. Pierzynski. Now,  given the events of Tuesday’s game when Pierzynkski went into the bag spikes up, those idiotic unwritten rules of baseball may have demanded that he be hit. But justified or not, the Rays threw at Pierzynski. Worth noting that Maddon denied it, and then accused the White Sox’  Jose Quintana of intentionally throwing at Ben Zobrist and applauding Quintana’s ejection, so he’s pretty consistent.

Of course, after being plunked, A.J. came around to score the White Sox’ third run.  While the Rays may have accepted that as baseball justice, I wonder if, to a man (and woman) Rays fans appreciated that stupid plunking nonsense led to a run by the opposition in what turned out to be a one-run game.

It’s all so silly. Throwing at guys is dumb. Accusing the other team of doing it and denying that you do it is fairly insulting. Just play the game and leave the discipline to the league. If that’s too much, at least quit accusing others of things you do yourself. Keep your uber secret code of silent valor silent.

Video: Justin Verlander reaches career mark with 270th strikeout

Justin Verlander
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Justin Verlander is approaching the tail end of a fantastic year with the Astros — arguably one of his best in the last decade — and on Saturday, he kicked off his last regular season start at Minute Maid Park with a strikeout, his 270th of the year. While that’s still a few shy of Max Scherzer‘s league-best mark of 290, it was a new personal record for Verlander, who had yet to beat the previous career record he set with 269 strikeouts in 2009.

Verlander’s moment arrived at the top of the first inning on a seven-pitch called strikeout against the Angels’ Kole Calhoun. Cole worked a 2-2 count, then fouled off a pair of 95-MPH fastballs before missing the seventh and final pitch at the top of the strike zone.

Jose Fernandez battled twice as long in the next at-bat, albeit with far more disastrous results. His 14-pitch duel against the Astros’ righty ended when he caught a fastball on his hand and was forced to come out of the game.

After expending a total of 27 pitches in the first inning, however, Verlander returned in the second to strike out the side, then logged another pair of strikeouts in the third. With six strikeouts through three innings, he boosted his season strikeout total to 275 — just a hair above fellow Houston righty Gerrit Cole (and all other AL pitchers), who previously led the team with 272 whiffs on the year.