Indians right-hander Danny Salazar was dominant in his first two innings of this American League Wild Card Game, racking up three strikeouts against the six Tampa Bay batters that he faced. But the script was flipped in the top of the third inning when Rays designated hitter Delmon Young crushed a first-pitch solo homer to deep left at Progressive Field.
Yunel Escobar followed Young’s blast with a hard-hit lineout to center field and Jose Molina smacked a hard grounder to second base for the second out. David DeJesus then popped out to short right.
Rays right-hander Alex Cobb — a much more finesse-based starter than the hard-throwing Salazar — has surrendered two Cleveland hits but no Cleveland runs over his first three frames. So it’s a 1-0 lead for Tampa Bay as we move to the top of the fourth.
As we noted, Bryce Harper was ejected in the Phillies-Mets game for arguing balls and strikes, punctuating the ejection with a fairly aggressive argument in which he sorta shoved his manager into the ump, had to be held back by teammates and may very well have earned himself a suspension.
We’ll see about the suspension part, but even if he didn’t anger Rob Manfred over all of that, he did annoy his teammate, Jake Arrieta, who was on the mound last night. Here were Arrieta’s comments after the game:
“Look, I mean, [Harper’s] got to understand we need him in right field,” Arrieta said. “I don’t care how bad the umpire is. He wasn’t great for either side. I’m out there trying to make pitches, and he misses some calls. So what? We need him out there. I need him in right field, I need him at the plate, and he wasn’t there. So that hurts.
“We were flat from start to finish. Two-hour delay, it doesn’t matter. We have to be ready to play. We weren’t, and it showed. The dugout was flat. The defense wasn’t good. Didn’t throw the ball well as a staff overall. We got beat. We started at 8:45. I don’t think our guys were ready to play. We’ve got to come out tomorrow ready to play.”
For Harper’s part he was contrite after the game, echoing Arrieta’s words about needing to keep a level head and about him being more useful in the game than in the clubhouse. Still, he got told by his teammate. And seems to know he got told.