By Ashley Dunkak
COMERICA PARK (DETROIT) – Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland opened up to Tigers broadcaster Dan Dickerson Friday about what made him so angry in Thursday’s loss to the Chicago White Sox.
What got Leyland so riled up – and ultimately ejected – was not Chicago pitcher Chris Sale buzzing the tower with Detroit’s Prince Fielder at the plate.
Leyland’s beef came when the umpires ejected Tigers pitcher Luke Putkonen for throwing behind Chicago’s Alexei Ramirez even though no warning had been issued. It did not help matters that umpires allowed Ramirez to stay in the game even though he had taken the situation up a notch by charging the mound.
“I was very upset the way the situation was handled, and that’s the thing that got me the most,” Leyland said. “That thing could have all been nipped in the bud, and I often wonder if Ramirez hadn’t reacted the way he did, there might have just been a warning, it would have been over with.
“We didn’t like the pitch to Fielder, we’re sending a message back on a pitch that wasn’t even close to the guy just to say, ‘Hey, we didn’t like that. C’mon,’ and then let the umpires warn us if they want to and then move on.”
The Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta both saw pitches near their heads against the Tampa Bay Rays a few weeks ago. Leyland said those kind of throws are never acceptable.
“If people are throwing it there without command of their pitches and can’t pitch inside without throwing up around the head, then they don’t belong in the big leagues,” Leyland said. “That’s my opinion. That’s my message … Guys may say, ‘Well, he’s wild.’ Well, you’re not supposed to be wild in that area if you’re a big-league pitcher.”