Adam Eaton didn’t throw a pitch on Friday in the second game of a four-game series between the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels, but he was the center of attention. On Saturday, the Rangers right-hander will take the mound.
Both managers, MLB vice president for on-field discipline Bob Watson and umpiring supervisor Richie Garcia met Friday to discuss the incidents that have gone on this season between the two teams. Eaton (5-4, 4.69 ERA) was a big issue of contention.
After giving up a three-run homer to Garrett Anderson during an Aug. 6 start against the Angels, Eaton threw behind Juan Rivera, earning him an immediate ejection by home plate umpire Rob Drake.
Tensions carried over into the next series between the AL West rivals, beginning on Aug. 15. That series included a bench-clearing brawl, nine ejections, eight suspensions and 10 fines between the two clubs.
“When something like that happens, somebody is usually there, either an umpire supervisor or somebody from my office,” Watson said. “Just to have a presence. I met with both managers and they’re going to play ball. That’s the bottom line.”
While Angels manager Mike Scioscia believed the problem could have been avoided if Eaton had been suspended following the Aug. 6 incident, Watson said there was nothing Major League Baseball could do.
“As I told Mike, the way the rules are written, that was appropriate at the time,” Watson said. “Adam Eaton threw 18 pitches, he taxed the Rangers bullpen for a couple of games and was out of the game in the first inning. That wasn’t a suspendable offense. If the pitch was up at the guy’s head, that’s a different story.”
Eaton allowed two runs and eight hits to the Seattle Mariners on Sunday, but did not record a decision in the 4-2 victory. He is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in three starts against the Angels.
The Rangers (74-74) have lost the first two games of this series by 2-1 scores. Vladimir Guerrero hit the go-ahead homer in the 11th inning Friday as Texas suffered its sixth loss in the last eight games.
“We held (Guerrero) in check for most of two nights, but he hurt us there at the end,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “There’s no one way to pitch him.”
Reliever Brendan Donnelly, who was suspended for four games after hitting a Texas batter during the last series between the clubs, pitched two perfect innings and earned the win for the Angels (80-68), who are five games behind Oakland for the division lead.
Los Angeles will hand the ball to John Lackey (11-10, 3.53), who is 1-4 with a 5.29 ERA in his last eight starts. The right-hander allowed three runs and four hits in eight innings of a 3-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Monday.
“I had pretty good stuff, that’s about as good of stuff as I’ve had all year,” Lackey said. “I felt really good.”
Lackey is 6-7 with a 5.33 ERA in 18 career starts against Texas. He was fined an undisclosed amount for his part in the Aug. 16 brawl between the clubs.