|Target Practice with the Indians||09.23.08 at 4:06 pm ET|
Following his loss to the Indians on Monday, Sox starter Josh Beckett was clearly frustrated with what he perceived as a tendency of Indians hitter Ryan Garko to lean out over the plate.
“You hit two guys after you get two outs, then you walk in a run, and that ends up being the difference in the game,” said Beckett. “I don’t think I had control difficulties. One guy (Garko) had (expletive) body armor on the whole (expletive) left side of his body. Get 1-2 on him and he leans over the (expletive) plate and it hits him in his (expletive) elbow pad. Whether or not he has a doctor’s note for it, I don’t know. I don’t think they enforce those rules. Some guys are just going to do that when you get 1-2. I don’t think that pitch was that far off the plate. It is what it is.”
Indians manager Eric Wedge, when asked today about Beckett’s comments, smirked and offered a lengthy pause.
“So what?” he chuckled.
What Beckett might not have realized is that he may have contributed to a piece of history. The Indians have been hit by pitches 99 times this year, a mark that, according to Akron Beacon Journal writer Sheldon Ocker, is one off the modern major-league record of 100 that was set by the 1997 Houston Astros. (Just guessing: Craig Biggio probably had something to do with that.
This fascinating website is nearly breathless with anticipation for the Indians’ little bit of history, which could take place during Cleveland’s current visit to Fenway Park. In the context of our times, as documented by the Hardball Times, it should come as little surprise that a team is chasing history with its hit batters. Hitters are currently taking one for the team at a rate unparalleled in modern baseball history.
As for the Indians accomplishment, the team does not appear ready to pop champagne corks should it surpass the ’97 Astros as the standard bearers for hit batsmen.
“That wasn’t one of my spring training goals,” mused Wedge. “We weren’t working on that on the back fields or anything.”
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