|Youkilis and Santana: Thems is (almost) fightin’ words||05.22.09 at 9:06 pm ET|
A near fracas occurred in the bottom of the fifth, when Johan Santana fired a 93 mph fastball (on a 2-2 pitch with two outs) off of the elbow of Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis. The pitch was barely inside off the plate, and likely hit Youkilis only because of his willingness to hover over the inner half of the plate.
Youkilis looked to the mound as he headed to first, and uttered a pair of profanities (though neither seemed directed personally at Santana, and rather suggested general bemusement about the discomfort of a pitch off the elbow). Apparently, Santana took the naughty words personally, and so there was a bit of a verbal joust while the home-plate umpire (Paul Nauert) ran to block Youkilis from any advances to the mound. Though that was unnecessary (Youkilis did not show any intention of charging the pitcher), the usual elevation of blood-pressure spread across the park: in the Red Sox bullpen, the pitchers made a couple steps towards the door. Players in both dugouts shuffled towards the top step. The Mets bullpen door opened a crack.
But the fuse never lit, order was restored, Santana struck out Jason Bay (his sixth punchout of the night) and the inning was ended, presumably with order restored.
Still, it will be fascinating to see what happens if Youkilis — not the most popular of players in New York — faces Santana again. That, however, seems unlikely: the Sox have made the left-hander throw 90 pitches through five innings. Still, Santana and the Mets lead, 4-3, after five.
UPDATE: Following the game, winning pitcher Johan Santana took exception with Kevin Youkilis staring back at him after being plunked in the fifth inning of Friday night’s 5-3 Mets’ win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park. “I just told him to just take his base,” Santana said. “That was about it. But he was still looking at me and talking and it fires me up. I’ve got respect for everybody and I respect this game but at the same time, I’m going to play hard. If you’re looking at me like that, you’re going to get it back because I’m a gamer and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Youkilis said that he was merely joking after getting hit, and that he uttered what intended to utter a profanity in jest while telling the pitcher, “That hurt.”
“I was joking around,” said Youkilis. “He told me to head to first base. Whatever. I was headed that way. I don’t know. Maybe I should have ran to first base. Like I’ve said, I’ve changed a lot of my ways of playing the game. Maybe I need to revert back to getting (ticked) off, throwing my bat down and going down to first. I’m not going to change my ways now. I’m pretty happy with going out there, enjoying the game and having fun.
“Everyone always told me in my career that I shouldn’t get so serious, you should enjoy the game and joke around,” Youkilis added. “When I do do it, I change my ways and joke around a little bit, I guess it’s the wrong thing. What are you going to do? Win some, lose some, I guess.”
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