Once again, the Detroit Tigers tried to retaliate after a fastball up and in one of their stars. And once again, they were punished for their decision.
Rick Porcello recently received a five-game suspension (which he started serving Thursday and will not cause him to miss any starts) for hitting Tampa’s Ben Zobrist, one day after Fernando Rodney and Miguel Cabrera exchanged words following a fastball from Rodney that zoomed past Cabrera’s head.
This time around, the fireworks started after a Cabrera homer. On his next pitch, Chicago starter Chris Sale fired a fastball that just missed hitting Prince Fielder’s shoulder. No warnings were issued on the play, but that did not stop the umpires from ejecting Detroit reliever Luke Putkonen one inning later when he threw behind Alexei Ramirez.
Putkonen came on in relief of Anibal Sanchez, who allowed a costly grand slam to Josh Phegley in the top of the sixth. After retiring one batter, Putkonen sailed a pitch past Ramirez’s back, which led to Ramirez dropping his bat, pointing at Putkonen and yelling. Both benches and the bullpens emptied.
Somewhere in the midst of all that, Putkonen was ejected. So, too, was Jim Leyland, who thrice stormed onto the field to yell at the umpires, at least twice for not issuing a warning after Sale’s pitch — Leyland appeared to yell, “This is your (bleeping) fault” at the home-plate ump — and then one last time because Ramirez was not tossed from the game.
The umpires then issued warnings to both benches, in an attempt to thwart any further incidents.
Since Putkonen did not actually hit Ramirez, it’s hard to imagine that he would receive any additional discipline from the MLB offices. Still, at this point, who knows.