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Doc’s Surgical Strike: Blue Jays Retaliate By Drilling Ortiz

10.01.09 at 3:57 am ET
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One day later, the Blue Jays made little effort to mask their displeasure with the fact that Jonathan Papelbon drilled Adam Lind in the elbow in the ninth inning of a game in which the Toronto slugger had smoked three homers. With two outs in the top of the ninth on Tuesday, Papelbon – pitching for the first time in six days – zinged Lind on the elbow with a 94 mph fastball.

Papelbon recognized that the circumstances made the incident look bad, which is why he approached Lind to say in no uncertain terms on Tuesday that it wasn’t a purpose pitch. Clearly, Toronto wasn’t buying the reliever’s claim.

Jays skipper Cito Gaston said before Wednesday’s game that he felt that home-plate ump Ron Kulpa should have ejected Papelbon immediately. But since the umpires didn’t police the inside pitch, which left Lind’s elbow swollen and prevented him from playing on Wednesday, the Jays seemingly took it upon themselves to do so.

Toronto starter Roy Halladay drilled Sox D.H. David Ortiz in the right elbow with a 91 mph fastball on the first pitch of the second inning. Home-plate ump Mike DiMuro warned both benches, but ejected no one. Halladay said the pitch simply got away from him, but his teammates suggested that the 17-game winner was offering a statement that opponents couldn’t members of the Blue Jays lineup.

“You never want to see anybody get hurt on the field but you appreciate that you’re protected,” said Jays shortstop John MacDonald. “It’s the way the game’s been played for a long time and if that’s the way it’s played, then it’s over and done with.”

None of the Sox suggested otherwise. Ortiz, for one, shrugged off the incident.

“It’s over. I don’t care. You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do, right? That’s how the games go,” he said of getting drilled. “I don’t care.”

Though Papelbon had made the effort to tell the Jays that there was nothing intentional about his plunking of Lind, the Sox closer recognized that his words might not hold weight in the Toronto clubhouse.

“Here’s the thing. It doesn’t matter what I think. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks,” said Papelbon. “It’s what their team thinks and what Halladay or Cito thinks.”

Yet at least one member of the Red Sox made no secret of his dismay with seeing Halladay hit Ortiz with what seemed like a purpose pitch. Reliever Billy Wagner noted the circumstances of the game — the Sox trailing by a run in a contest in which a victory meant a trip to the postseason, a hitter who is teeing off on pitches away, a closer who had not pitched in almost a week — to suggest that the Jays were misguided if they considered the Lind incident an intentional one.

“We’re trying to have clean innings. I don’t know what they’re thinking there. If it had been any other pitcher besides Doc, they’d get tossed. I think it’s a little bush league, but it’s the way it is,” said Sox reliever Billy Wagner. “When you’ve got as much experience as Cito and those guys do over there, you can read between the lines and say it was 8-7, we’re not going to hit a guy when we’re trying to win the game. I think it’s pretty cut and dried.

“They handle their business their way. But you bring in your closer to try to get work in. He hasn’t pitched in five or six days. He’s trying to pitch him in because the guy’s been wearing you out away, and then the ball gets inside and hits him,” Wagner continued. “It’s just not knowing the game [to think that Papelbon threw at Lind intentionally].”

While Lind is unlikely to play until Friday at earliest with his swollen elbow, Ortiz pronounced himself fine. He stayed in the game, going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts against the Jays ace.

Read More: billy wagner, Blue Jays, David Ortiz, Jonathan Papelbon
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