If you follow baseball, you have heard about the histrionics of A.J. Pierzynski. He is the type of player you hate when you see him on the other team, but cheer for when he is on your team.
He plays hard, never takes a day off, and always gets under the skin of opponents.
It was a perfect 3 days for the guy.
He caught each and every inning in the 3 games against the Rays. Didn’t have a particularity good series with the bat, going 1-10 with 1 RBI. However, he was embroiled in a number of controversial plays.
Tuesday, in the second game, what looked like an innocent force out at 2nd, turned into an A.J. special. Sliding late, he spiked 2nd baseman Ben Zobrist. Zobrist was none too happy, but looking down he probably thought it was typical of the guy, who has made a career out of doing things just like this.
Sometimes I wonder why guys, like Zobrist, don’t just give it back to Pierzynski. Slip on him, elbows up, or accidentally step on him. Why wait for the pitcher to exact some justice? If A.J. pisses you off, and he has a habit of doing that, do something about it.
Nope, it was left to Alex Cobb on Wednesday to do the dirty work. Cobb did just that, beaning the catcher right in the back. Eye for an eye, I guess.
You hit Pierzynski, and the Sox will retaliate. Jose Quintana protected his signal caller the only way he could, by throwing a ball behind the back of Zobrist’s legs (haha). It came no where near hitting him. Zobrist actually smiled at the lack of control shown by Quintana.
Time to warn both benches, and move on.
Wrong again! Home plate umpire Mark Wegner ejected Quintana immediately. It may have been the quickest hook ever and it sent Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson into a rage. The Hawk made it clear that there is no room for umpires such as Wegner in the Majors, and should be sent back to school to better understand the game.
Wegner, standing upright, quite proud of himself for controlling the game, looked foolish. Not one of the other umpires appeared to show him any support. They let Wegner stand on that island all by his lonesome. I figured that at least one would come in stand near him, giving off the impression of a unified team, until the situation blew over. They didn’t, to me signaling that Wegner was wrong with his ultra quick hook.
To make matters worse, he ejected Robin Ventura too. 1st career ejection as a manager for the guy.
And Pierzynski, he just took it all in.
And for those of you wondering if Pierzynski knows how to pop up slide, he answered your question in the 3rd inning. Tagging up on a Dayan Viciedo fly ball, Pierzynski didn’t beat the throw from Zobrist, but he used the pop up slide on the front corner of the plate, therefore avoiding Jose Molina’s tag attempt—at that moment proving that he doesn’t have to over-slide, and into an opponent.
Later in Wednesday’s game:
Obviously I have no way of knowing if it was intentional or not, but J.P. Howell’s pickoff throw to 2nd base that bounced off Alejandro De Aza’s knee, may have been the worst one I have ever seen. It was easily 10 feet away from the bag. De Aza was forced to leave the game, limping the entire time. Was it on purpose? We’ll never know.
Those antics aside, the Sox swept right through the Rays, and now have won 8 straight games. They also lead the A.L. Central by a game and a half over the Indians.
It also overshadowed the performance by Viciedo, who is coming into his own. Tank went 7-12, with a home run, 3 RBI, and 4 runs scored in the 3 games. Over his past 7 games, Viciedo is hitting .551 (16-29), with 4 home runs, and 13 RBI. His average is now at .291.
It also took away from the Sox batting clinic in game two. They sent 9 runners to the plate in the 6th inning, scoring 5 times in the process. This offense to really starting to look scary.
Sox get a day off to heal the wounded before getting their 2nd look at Seattle. Sorry, Phil Humber is not scheduled to pitch in the 3 games. Maybe Chris Sale can pitch another perfect game. He’s got the stuff to do it.
Sox looking good right now.