Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Youk Throwing Down The Gauntlet/Helmet

What better place for a beanball war than in Beantown? If you remember my post about players getting ejected, then you guys know I like a good old-fashioned bench-clearing brawl. This wasn't exactly a brawl, but players weren't holding hands and singing Kumbaya either. Allow me to set the stage for this one.

Junichi Tazawa, a 23-year old rookie from Japan, was making his debut tonight for the Red Sox as a starter against 20-year old Tigers rookie Rick Porcello. Tazawa, whose command is a little shaky, accidentally hit Miguel Cabrera (who was also hit yesterday) in the 1st inning. Porcello retaliated by going inside on Victor Martinez. At that point you figure it's over, right? Wrong.

Kevin Youkilis, who had already been hit by a pitch yesterday, stepped into the batter's box in the 2nd inning and snapped as Porcello plunked him square in the back. A furious Youk charged the mound and threw his helmet at Porcello, narrowly missing him. Porcello looked like he was about to soil his pants. Youk then tussled with Porcello and they sort of took each other down. That's where the fight got broken up.

Both players were ejected. Youk will likely be suspended for at least 5 games. Was it worth it? You'd have to ask Youk.

Youk Versus Porcello

It should be noted that Youk, Ryan Braun, and Ian Kinsler have all had memorable experiences with the beanball this year.

Ian Kinsler was thrown behind not once, but twice. And both instances occurred within a week of each other. On May 11, Bobby Jenks threw behind Kinsler. He later admitted it was intentional; he was trying to send a message to the Rangers. Then, on May 17 in his 1st start of the year, John Lackey threw behind Kinsler on the very 1st pitch. He hit Kinsler just above his midsection on the 2nd pitch and was immediately ejected from the game.

Kinsler and Lackey

Much like Joba Chamberlain and Youk, there's no love lost between Braun and Jeff Karstens. Karstens hit Braun in the back in April, knowing full well that Braun's back wasn't 100%. Karstens was hit a few months later by a Brewers pitcher.

Braun also had a run-in with Ryan Dempster in May. Braun was squaring to bunt when Dempster decided to go head hunting. Luckily, the ball appeared to hit Braun's bat. Nevertheless, Braun was awarded 1st base and was visibly upset about Dempster's mysterious lack of control.

However, Braun would have the last laugh. Later in the game, Braun took Dempster deep. And I mean deep. Braun stared Dempster down as he began his home run trot and was certainly fired up as he rounded the bases. Pretty freaking cool, if you ask me.

Braun and Dempster

Here's today's rundown:

Kevin Youkilis was 0-0 with 1 HBP against the Tigers. This marks the third straight season where Youk has been hit by 10 or more pitches.

Ryan Braun was 0-4 against the Padres.

Sam Fuld was 1-4 against the Rockies.

John Grabow pitched 1/3 of an inning against the Phillies, getting out of a bases load jam he inherited from Carlos Marmol. Grabow's ERA is now 3.12.

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