"We don't throw at people. It's not who we are." – Gabe Kapler on this pitch from Shaun Anderson to Mike Trout pic.twitter.com/0evekh0dlX
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) August 18, 2020
The heat that arose in the ninth inning was because of the, well, heat, the Giants say. And not because of a hot-headed pitcher.
Shaun Anderson threw two fastballs that looked headed for Mike Trout’s head in an 8-1 game that was all but finished (even with this Giants bullpen). Trout ducked at both, the second eliciting a what’s-going-on-here look and hand gesture from the best player in baseball.
After the pitches, the umpires conferred, though no warning was given before Trout walked. In the fifth inning, a 95-mph Jacob Barnes fastball drilled Evan Longoria in the back. Was this attempted retribution?
“I’m just going to be very direct. Shaun hasn’t been on a mound in five days,” Gabe Kapler said Tuesday after the 8-2 Giants victory at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, and after the manager talked with Anderson. “He got a little jumpy — we don’t throw at people. It’s not who we are.”
Anderson, who had not pitched since Wednesday, did not speak to media following a game that began with 99-degree heat and did not cool off. Around the internet, he became the latest target for a younger crowd that does not want pitches sailing at players’ heads, that does not value old-school vigilantism.
Mike Yastrzemski felt there was no intent, saying he almost threw the bat a few times, the sweat making it so easy to lose control.
“Shaun was not himself to start. It’s obviously tough to come into a game with 107-heat index where you’re sweating profusely,” said Yastrzemski, who went 1-for-3 with two walks and a leadoff home run. “And he really recovered well. So to see somebody bounce back when they’re clearly not feeling like themselves is very promising and showed a lot of composure out there.”
Kapler had not targeted Anderson for the ninth itself but did want his hard-throwing righty against the Angels’ two star righty bats, Trout and Anthony Rendon. He got neither out — Rendon singled after Trout’s base on balls — but he recorded the final three outs of a blowout while only allowing one run. Which is better than Trevor Gott, who along with Tony Watson and Tyler Rogers was unavailable, has been able to do.
There finally was no meltdown with the Giants’ bullpen, which was perfect in five innings apart from Anderson’s hiccup. Yet there was drama that they hope will go away when others hear the explanation.
“STOP THROWING AT PEOPLE’S HEADS. THERE’S NO PLACE IN BASEBALL FOR THAT,” star Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer wrote on Twitter. “GET THE HELL OUT OF THE GAME IF YOURE GOING TO DO THAT.”