Playing A Little Pepper

Leading off the seventh inning of last night’s game, the Indians hit Evan Longoria on the heiny. Was it intentional? And why hit him at all?

As you can see in the GIFs below, Longo clearly thought it was intentional. The umpire must have thought there was some intent as he issued warnings to both teams. However, Indians announcers thought everybody was overreacting and their biggest piece of evidence is motive, as in there was none. Some point to Desmond Jennings’ collision at home plate earlier which knocked their catcher out of the game. And the Indians may not have had a chance to hit Jennings. According to Marc Topkin, most of the players felt the order came from the Indians bullpen and the starting pitcher was still in the game for Jennings’ at bat in the 4th inning. In the 6th inning, Jennings came up with 2 runners on and just one out. And there was a good chance Jennings wasn’t going to have another at bat. So the next best thing (in their minds) may have been to go after the star. But other than the pitch just looking intentional, the biggest piece of evidence that it was intentional is the reaction by the Indians catcher who immediately pops up as if he is anticipating Longo to charge the mound. And why would the catcher be worried about that happening if the pitch just “got away”?…IT WAS, BUT WHY?

 

Game Graph

[Will be up at game time]

Source: FanGraphs

Lineup…

  1. Flash Jennings, CF
  2. Sam Fuld, RF
  3. Ben Zobrist, 2B
  4. Evan Longoria, 3B
  5. James Loney, 1B
  6. Yunel Escobar, SS
  7. Matt Joyce, LF
  8. Jose Lobaton, C
  9. Kelly Johnson, DH
  10. David Price, SP

 

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3 Comments

  1. Alex says:

    It may have been intentional but the guys control was so awful the rest of the time in their it's hard to say

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  2. Don says:

    See "Shot at Joe" for explanation..

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  3. Dave L says:

    As my mind drifted during today's laugher of a game I contemplated the question of why hit Longo.

    Obviously it was intentional. The catcher never even made a move to attempt to receive it. Maddon noted after the game that it came from the bullpen which is an island all to itself and it made sense.

    The rationale in the minds of the bored helpless pen was that thier battery mate was wrecked, regardless of whether it was a clean wrecking or not.

    The obvious retaliation was to hit Jennings. But how smart would that be? The last time Jennings stood alone on first led to the catcher being bowled over after 2 steals.

    So the logical move was to retaliate by not hitting the most aggressive dynamic base stealer on the team. Instead hit the most feared hitter who also happens to be possibly most timid, least dangerous baserunner on the team.

    I am not defending it, but that was probably the logic of the Cleveland pen.

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