MLB has laid down the hammer on Rick Porcello.
The Tigers and Rays three game series last weekend was full of highlights. The Tigers won game one, with Miguel Cabrera performing closer Fernando Rodney's celebratory move, an homage to his father, shooting an invisible arrow into the dome.
Rodney and Cabrera being former teammates, Rodney claimed it was some good-natured fun between friends... But when Rodney had the pleasure of pitching to Cabrera the following night, he put a 100 MPH fastball up near the chin to send a message. The pitch never came close to making contact, but when the former MVP struck out, he stalked away staring at Rodney.
So, to open the third game of the series, the Tigers chose to plunk ol' Ben Zobrist -- on a Sunday -- with two outs in the first inning.
Zobrist is admittedly the nicest guy on the team. He leads prayers and bible studies. When a player's line drive takes out our starting pitcher and is horrified and in shock, Zobrist will put his arm around that guy, who never meant any harm, and tell him it's gonna be alright. Annually, there are contests for your kids to "Bring Zobrist to School."
Zobrist is not a threatening guy. And yet, this:
Regardless, the Tigers beaned him -- I'm willing to bet anything that call came from the dugout.
After Game 2, Jim Leyland had choice words for the Rays, including: "We will not tolerate that. You can take that to the bank" and "There's a price to pay for that."
Now Rick Porcello, who did the throwing, will pay the price.
Baseball suspends #Tigers’ Porcello six games and issues him undisclosed fine.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 2, 2013
Shame on Leyland if he sits idly by.
A leader takes responsibility for the actions of his team, and this retaliation was a clear directive from the manager. Why let your pitch take all the blame? I know I'm not alone in the sentiment.
Porcello deserved to be suspended and fined...Leyland deserves some punishment too! He fanned the flames and made something out of nothing.— Dave Wills (@davewills34) July 2, 2013
After Zobrist took the line drive to the shoulder, the Rays responded in two very classy ways:
First, they did nothing to retaliate. Not a thing. Both dugouts were warned, but that was all. Zobrist even smiled when he reached first base, and then promptly attempted to take second. The game continued, and the Rays built up a lead.
Second, in the eighth inning, the Rays brought in Kyle Farnsworth to face Miguel Cabrera, and if you know anything about Kyle Farnsworth, it looks like this:
The MMA fighting hobbyist is the Rays enforcer, through and through. Making matters worse, he began writing in the mound before he stepped up to the rubber, a tradition of former Rays closer Rafael Soriano, who had piercing eyes that threatened death with every stare. Intimidation at its finest.
Cabrera, waiting at the plate, glanced back at his dugout warily, and even flinched on the first pitch inside. And the second, and the third. Joe Maddon played the best mind game I've seen on Miguel Cabrera, and the at bat ended with a liner to third.
Watch the broadcast crew break down the tension here:
Today: Revenge is a dish best served with a series win, a freakout, a fine, and a suspension.