The Cleveland Indians may be in the midst of a historic winning streak, but that doesn’t mean other teams are going to take their criticisms sitting down.
On Wednesday, the Detroit Tigers were trailing the Indians 4-1 in the bottom of the third inning when pitcher Buck Farmer hit umpire Quinn Wolcott with a pitch. It was part of an erratic performance for the 26-year-old righty, who struck out seven but surrendered three walks and four earned runs in four innings of work.
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While Farmer wasn’t warned for his errant pitch, the timing was a bit coincidental — the incident occurred almost immediately after the ejections of Tigers manager Brad Ausmus and catcher James McCann, who took issue with Wolcott’s strike zone. Cleveland’s TV broadcasters soon speculated that Farmer and catcher John Hicks may have conspired to hit the umpire on purpose, saying the pitch “would raise eyebrows.”
The Tigers soon caught wind of the comment, and they weren’t pleased. Ausmus had a passionate postgame response to the allegation.
“I heard the Indians broadcast. To imply that that was intentional is, first of all, a lie,” he said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “If any player on this team intentionally tried to hurt an umpire, we’d deal with that severely. But for anyone to imply that that was intentional, that’s completely wrong. They’re out of line saying that, quite frankly.”
While the umpires had a brief meeting following the pitch in question — likely to discuss whether to warn or eject Farmer — Wolcott didn’t seem intent on imposing any kind of punishment. Besides, the incident occurred during a bases loaded situation, not the best time to take a stand using baseball’s unwritten rules.
Farmer was contrite after the game, tweeting the following statement:
The Indians went on to win the game 5-3, extending their winning streak to an incredible 21 games. The Tigers’ next game is set for Thursday against the Chicago White Sox.
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