During Monday's game between the Tigers and White Sox, tensions rose after Jose Abreu was hit by a pitch in the elbow in the top of the 9th inning on a 97 mph fastball by Alex Lange.
In the previous inning, Isaac Paredes of the Tigers had been hit by a pitch as well. Abreu tried to advance to second base on a ball in the dirt. He was thrown out following an aggressive slide. He and Niko Goodrum got in each other's faces, and ultimately the benches cleared.
I'm going to slightly come to the White Sox defense a little bit here, which may be surprising considering my allegiances. Chicago still has something to play for this season. I wouldn't want to see one of my guys get hit either, especially one of the better players in baseball, and Jose Abreu has gotten plunked a lot of times this season (21 to be exact, though this was the only time a Tigers pitcher had hit him). With that said, I think you're out of your gourd if you feel that Alex Lange's pitch was intentional. I'll also say that I don't have a problem with Jose Abreu getting mad and I don't have much of an issue with his slide either. Yeah, it was a bit aggressive. Like A.J. Hinch said after the game, it was a bit old school. I don't think he was trying to take Niko Goodrum's legs out or anything like that. It was an aggressive baseball play by a player with one of the better reputations in the game. I was willing to chalk up this entire situation to a frustrated player being frustrated. Then Tony La Russa opened his mouth.
Nothing about that quote makes any sense to me. There are many problems with the 2021 Detroit Tigers, and I think I've done a pretty darn good job over the last 156 games of pointing out every single one. But if you believe that one of their issues is that they have a problem when somebody plays aggressively, you're bananas. And that's not only reflected in how they've played this season but it's also reflected in how they reacted to Jose Abreu's slide in Monday's game. When you re-watch that play, it appeared that Niko Goodrum was backing up before Abreu got in his face.
Also, what are the limits of pitching aggressively, and how exactly does one go beyond them? If Lange plunked Jose Abreu in the head with a 97 mph fastball, if his command were that poor, I would be the first person on here to say that that was a ridiculous move. If you feel like you're going to injure somebody, then you shouldn't pitch inside. But if we're ranking HBP's on a brutality scale from 1-10, that was like a 2. Regardless of my disagreement, he has every right to get angry. The White Sox are 90+ win team that ran away with the AL Central this year. They're welcome to at least attempt to dunk on whoever they want. They've earned that right. It's a bit bizarre to me because come October, I don't think the Astros are going to be afraid to pitch inside, I don't think the Yankees are going to be afraid to pitch inside. I don't think the Rays are going to be afraid to pitch inside. It's a bit of a strange hill to die on.