May 17, 2009
It's been a fun and goofy weekend so far, what with A-Rod walking it off in the Bronx, Lou Piniella telling a fan not to question his bullpen decisions and pompom giveaway night in Miami turning into a royal mess.
But my favorite scene on Saturday happened down in Texas, where Angels ace John Lackey(notes), fresh off the DL and making his much-anticipated first start of the season, was ejected just two pitches into the game by umpire Bob Davidson.
Yes, two pitches.
You can watch the video here and judge for yourself, but apparently Davidson felt that Lackey wanted to begin his 2009 season by throwing two purpose pitches at Rangers' leadoff man Ian Kinsler(notes), who homered against the Angels twice on Friday night. Lackey's first pitch sailed wide of Kinsler and the second ended up hitting him, prompting an immediate tossing by Davidson even though no warning was issued between the two.
"I was definitely shocked," said Lackey, who missed the first month and a half of the season because of a forearm strain. "I haven't pitched in six weeks, and I was amped up. I was trying to come in on him, but there was no intention at all to hit him or throw behind him."
Perhaps if home-plate umpire Bob Davidson had issued a warning after the first pitch, his actions after the second pitch might have been warranted.
"But there was no warning — none," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "Evidently, he felt there was some history [between the teams] and that John was throwing at Kinsler, which was absurd."
The ejection wasn't without consequence. The Rangers ended up winning 5-3, with four earned runs coming off Lackey's replacement Shane Loux(notes). Upon heading to the showers, Lackey became the first starter to throw only two pitches in a game since Colorado's Zach Day(notes) was hit by a line drive and had to leave the game on Sept. 16, 2005.
Though Kinsler seems to be making a cottage industry of being a intentional HBP target, I still think it's hard to assume that Lackey would be that careless with his first start on the mound since last October. And if he was? Well, he deserved at least a warning from Davidson before being ejected. Bad move by Davidson there.