It’s been a great week for double-dipped stupidity. First Michael Pineda, now Bo Porter.
As if the Houston manager’s act last week wasn’t thin enough—he apparently had his pitcher throw at Oakland’s Jed Lowrie for bunting in the first inning, then shouted the shortstop down after he flied out to end the frame—he reprised it yesterday.
Paul Clemens, the same guy who threw at (and missed) Lowrie last time, was again the man on the mound. This time he connected, drilling him in the backside. (Watch it here.) The next batter, Josh Donaldson hit a two-run vengeance homer, but since the A’s were already ahead, 8-1, it made little difference. Porter’s team continue to be the Astros.
Donaldson’s homer came off of Anthony Bass, because plate ump Toby Basner, showing outstanding situational awareness, tossed Clemens immediately after Lowry was drilled.
Lowrie called it “flat-out embarrassing” in an MLB.com report.
“There’s no other way to say it,” he said. “Every perspective, every angle you look at it, it’s embarrassing. That kind of conduct should be condemned.”
He’s absolutely right. Clemens went about things the right way for a guy with vendetta on the mind—every one of his questionable pitches came in below the waist—but there’s no mistaking the fact that Porter’s leadership is fast becoming reckless. After the game, the manager refused to criticize the act, going so far as to justify it as “part of the game” because Houston’s “George Springer got hit tonight, too.”
It’s one thing to teach a young team to stand up for itself. It’s another to overreact to a bogus charge, then double down on it later. The Gerrit Cole-Carlos Gomez affair earlier in the week had people across the spectrum decrying the sport’s unwritten rules, but they had it wrong—this was the incident that makes the Code look bad.
Perhaps Porter feels that his best chance to get runners on base this season is to turn them all into targets by pissing off the opposition with an ongoing display of irrational behavior.
Shouldn’t be long, now.