Angels-Rangers: Should John Lackey Have Been Ejected?

Andrew GodfreyCorrespondent IMay 17, 2009

BOSTON - OCTOBER 06:  John Lackey #41 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim tries to stay warm in the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox during Game Four of the American League Championship Series on October 6, 2008  at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

John Lackey was ejected by home plate umpire Bob Davidson after two pitches in the Rangers' 5-3 win on Saturday.

Los Angeles Angels pitcher John Lackey threw two pitches yesterday before being ejected by home plate umpire Bob Davidson. The first pitch was behind the back of Ian Kinsler, similar to the one thrown recently by White Sox closer Bobby Jenks. The second pitch hit Kinsler in the ribs.

Lackey said he was rusty after being out of action and had no intention of hitting Kinsler. Angels manager Mike Scioscia ran on the field to protest the ejection but to no avail.

Luckily for Lackey, the Angels had scored in the top half of the first inning, so he didn’t get the loss when the Rangers scored later in the inning. But the Angels had to use their bullpen for all nine innings of the contest, so John can't feel like he's off the hook.

Mitch Williams made the comment on the "MLB Tonight" program that this was taking the "pitch count thing" to the extreme. Rarely do we see a starter pulled after just a couple tosses.

I am an Kinsler fan, but I still don’t want to see Lackey suspended because of this incident which shouldn’t have been an incident in the first place.

For some reason, the umpires seem to be intent on tossing pitchers who come close to or hit batters. Kevin Millwood was the exception when he  hit two White Sox in a game this season without getting ejected. But then Bobby Jenks throws behind the back of Kinsler, and there is talk of suspension (though he was eventually let off with just a fine).

This is just another reason to do away with the designated hitter rule, since AL pitchers can throw at batters all they want and not suffer any ramifications since they are not allowed to bat unless they are visiting a NL park.

Baseball old timers have to be amused at this latest development of the umpires protecting the hitters. Nobody was protecting hitters from Bob Gibson, who after giving up a homer to a batter would exact revenge by hitting the next man up.

In some cases, pitchers would wait for the player who hit the home run to bat again and then deck him. But now, all of that seems to be out the window with this crackdown on close pitches or batters actually being struck.

The umpires are favoring the hitters by being more strict with hurlers. Some pitchers with no intention of hitting a batter are only throwing inside to keep a batter off the plate, but now they will know they are in danger of being ejected if they accidentally hit the guy at the plate.

It will be interesting to see if the umpires continue the trend of coddling offenses at the expense of pitchers. Nobody wants to see a batter hurt by a pitch, but nobody wants to see baseball become a game for namby-pamby lounge lizards. Batters can't be allowed to dig in at the plate with no fear of retribution.

Paging Bud Selig...

It is time to take action that ensures baseball can be played the way it has been played in the past. Of course, you're probably hiding behind a rock somewhere so you won’t have to face this situation, as you did for five days before even mentioning the Alex Rodriguez steroids situation.


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