By Ashley Dunkak
Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera left the game early again on Monday. This time it had nothing to do with an injury.
Cabrera’s first strike in the at bat came when he tried to check his swing as a pitch bounced off the ground and struck him in the leg. Had he not swung, he would have gone to first for being hit by the pitch. After fouling off the next pitch, Cabrera looked back at the umpire and said something. When the umpire ejected Cabrera, the announcers calling the game reacted with disgust.
“Oh, come on!” Tigers Radio Announcer Dan Dickerson said. “The home plate umpire has just ejected Miguel Cabrera. That’s a joke. That really is. I’m sorry. You’re a few pitches into this game, you probably just blew the previous call because he did get hit by the pitch on a bounce, and Miguel turned around and had a few words with him, and Brian Gorman ejected him. You’ve got to give him some leeway. This is a superstar that people are coming to see. He’s such a huge part of this – that’s just incredible to me.”
Cabrera could not believe it either. If he had not said anything toss-worthy to the umpire before, he sure let the swear words fly once he was ejected as manager Jim Leyland came out to argue the ejection and quickly earned an ejection of his own.
“I was shocked because there’s no reason why somebody throws you out in the first inning like that,” Cabrera said. “Especially when you’re in a race to win the division, especially when you need to win games, especially when inside you’re fired up because you want to win and you want to stay with your teammates over there and try to play nine innings hard. I think we didn’t deserve that. I think, I don’t know what I said, but it’s a little bit of frustration because I think to myself I let my team down when they throw me in the first inning.
“He didn’t tell me anything,” Cabrera added. “He threw me out right away. He didn’t say anything like, ‘Stop.’ He said nothing to me. He kicked me out straight up.”
Leyland said after the game that the umpire, without question, called both pitches correctly, but the umpire’s justification for booting Cabrera did not satisfy the skipper.
“After hearing [the umpire’s] explanation as to why he threw him out, I was a little upset because I did not think that warranted an ejection by any means,” Leyland said. “I know he said it two or three times, three or four times, I think, and I’m sure Brian said, ‘That’s enough.’ but I just think that after listening to the umpire’s explanation, I just don’t think that – that doesn’t warrant an ejection, in my opinion.”
Tigers starting pitcher Max Scherzer, who was going for his 20th win and ended up with his third loss instead, said that while Cabrera’s ejection did not alter his mindset, it definitely had an impact.
“As a whole, it probably did change the game,” Scherzer said. “He’s our leader, he’s our guy, he’s our horse, and for him to be ejected in the first always hurts our team.”