We almost had our second no hitter of the week, as Justin Verlander, who seemingly has a no-hitter through five innings every start, was in the 8th inning with a no-no going. The battle between the two aces in the American League, Verlander vs. Jared Weaver, already featured some fireworks as Weaver was ejected the previous inning for air mailing one over Alex Avila’s head right after Carlos Guillen hit a home run and admired it a little too much.
That chippiness carried over to Verlander’s attempt in the 8th. With the Angels trailing 3-0, Erick Aybar laid down a bunt to try to get on, Verlander fielded it, and fired a wild throw to first, allowing Aybar to advance. It was ruled an error, so the no-hitter was still intact at that point, but Verlander was not happy, exchanging words with Aybar. Aybar eventually scored on a botched run down, and then the no-hitter was broken up with a two-out single to left by Maicer Izturis.
After the inning, Verlander was still pissed off by Aybar’s violation of that dreaded unwritten rule that you don’t bunt to break up a no-hitter. He was seen yelling at Aybar and motioning that he would plunk him in the side.
I love the fire that Verlander has there. I mean, dude’s a competitor and he’s pissed that he lost a no-hitter. He was in the heat of the moment. However, I’m tired of these stupid unwritten rules.
The #1 rule is winning. The Angels were 2 back of the Rangers in the AL West and 5.5 of the Yankees for the AL Wildcard. Detroit’s barely leading the AL Central as well. Verlander is the type of pitcher that you have to scratch and claw against most outings, not just this one. The score was 3-0. If Aybar’s bunt is the best way to get something going, do it. It worked. He forced a throw and got a 2 run inning going that almost got the Angels to extras with Verlander out. If Verlander had given up a duck snort in the second, then Aybar’s bunt attempt would have been the sign of a competitor trying to stay alive, and would have not violated any rule. This isn’t mocking a pitcher after hitting a home run, something that doesn’t affect the game within the lines. I don’t see how any behavior that is an attempt to legitimately win a game within the rules should violate any unwritten rules.
[photo via Getty]