Boy do I love the dance! Franklin Morales hit Luke Scott last night, nailed him in the leg after missing three other times. I admire his persistence. What I like about the Rays/Red Sox rivalry is that there appears to me some of these guys that just do not like each other.
Morales plunked Scott last night in the ninth inning with two out and nobody on.
It’s pretty clear that Mr. Maddon does not think too highly of Mr. Valentine. He all but called him an idiot after last nights game and then added “you can quote me on that”. “It’s not us” he said and he urged all to watch the video to see who was the most “incensed” and we would know; clearly a shot at Bobby V. He urged all to seek their answers in the Red Sox clubhouse for what he termed , a “weak, ridiculous, absurd, idiotic, cowardly effort”.
Rays manager Joe Maddon
Mr. Valentine went ethereal after the game with a far more “spiritual” look at the matter, “Maybe it was the Ghost of Fenway Past remembering that he bad-mouthed all our fans and stadium’’, he said in an obvious reference to Scott’s disparaging remarks about Fenway Park and the Fenway Faithful. Scott all but called Fenway a dump and then added some loving remarks about the Faithful referring to them as “ruthless and vulgar”.
Bobby V’s boys, once again failed to get over the .500 mark falling to the Rays 7-4.
The Rays and Red Sox “Plunking Wars” date back to the days of Gerald Williams, the Devil Rays and Pedro Martinez.
Way back in the summer of 2000, Pedro plunked Gerald Williams in the first inning on his way to a 1-hitter in which he struck out 13 Devil Rays at “The Trop”.
Coco Crisp took offense to a pitch thrown by James Shields back in the ’08’ season and went to the mound to discuss the matter. Both dugouts decided to join in the discussion which resulted in both Shields and Crisp receiving the night off.
Shields “retaliated” for Crisp’s hard slides into second base the previous game. I wonder if Mr. Maddon (who was managing then) thought that particular effort, “ridiculous and cowardly.”
We all know that pitchers hit batters and sometimes they do it for the purpose of delivering a message. The “accepted” version is to stay away from the batters head, and not to injure. Let’s take a look at the 2012 version of the Rays/Red Sox Plunking Wars.
The Rays and Red Sox opened Fenway’s 100th season on April 14th. David Price was on the mound for the Rays and he was the first to hit a batter. It was Red Sox catcher Kelly Shoppach, leading off the third inning with the Rays leading 1-0. Conclusion, not on purpose, no pitcher wants to put the lead off man on especially on the road and with only a 1-0 lead. It is clear that Price did not have his best stuff as the Sox shelled him winning the game 12-2.
The next three games at Fenway passed without a batter being hit as the Red Sox won games two and three of the series 13-5 and 6-4. The Rays took the Patriots Day Game salvaging one win in the series, a 1-0 gem.
On Wednesday May 16th, the venue switched to The Trop. Clay Buchholz was on the mound for the Sox and in the second inning Carlos Pena led off with a single for the Rays. The next batter Luke Scott was hit by a pitch putting men on first and second with nobody out. Conclusion, not on purpose, no pitcher is going to plunk someone on purpose in that game situation! The Rays ended up scoring a run that inning on a Buchholz balk in a game they won 2-1. Later in the game last night’s Red Sox “culprit” Franklin Morales hit Will Rhymes. It was the eighth inning, one out and a man on third with the Rays holding a 2-1 lead. Again, no purposeful intent here, too crucial a part of a close game.
Now the following night is where things start to get interesting. Before the game Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez made a pre game remark about hitting a home run and this appears to be the point from which all this “absurd, idiotic, ridiculous” nonsense has spun.
Even the veritable “Rem Dawg” hinted at such last night. But let’s take a look at the situation. AGone was hit in the first inning of that game by Rays rookie southpaw Matt Moore however it seems highly unlikely that it was deliberate and here’s why. There were men on first and second and only one out. Not the time or situation when “purpose” pitchers are thrown.
In the third inning Red Sox starter Felix Doubront hit Luke Scott. The Red Sox were ahead 3-0 and the Rays had a man on first with two outs; not as crucial a situation as the previous plunks but again a most unlikely scenario for a deliberate one. Later in the game Vincent Padilla hit Rob Thompson but there was a man on second, one out and it brought the tying run to the plate, a no-brainer, not on purpose!
So this brings us to last night! Dustin Pedroia stepped in, in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Red Sox were battling back from an abysmal performance by Jon Lester and had once trailed 7-1. They had narrowed the lead to 7-4 and there was a man on second. “Pedey” was plunked which brought the tying run to the plate in the person of David Ortiz. Once again an obvious no-brainer, not on purpose!
Luke Scott was plunked in the ninth inning last night. There were two outs, nobody on base and the Sox were trailing 7-4. There was a “purpose” to that pitch and there is a reason Luke Scott was the receiver of the purpose pitch. The question now becomes what was the purpose?
There is not doubt in this observers mind that the order came from Bobby V. His comments after the game say it all without saying anything. Was the purpose to ignite his team? Or perhaps ignite the fans. Or maybe to endear himself to the Fenway Faithful, there are those who will contend he is quite capable of those type of theatrics.
All that remains to be seen, however, todays act unfolds on a FOX nationally televised game. Do you think that was lost on the former ESPN baseball commentator?
And so it is on this day in Fenway Park history, May 26, 2012.