Detroit — Phillies leadoff hitter Odubel Herrera was annoying folks in both dugouts Monday.
Most seriously for him, he incurred the wrath of his manager Pete Mackanin and was benched after he grounded out to the pitcher Mike Pelfrey in the seventh.
“He didn’t run,” Mackanin told reporters afterward. “One of the ingredients to our success to this point is the fact that these guys play with energy, they play hard, and we’re training them to play the game the right way.
“And not running is not the right way. And that’s why, it’s more important for me to set that tone than to take our best hitter out of the lineup.”
As it turned out, Herrera, who singled in his first three at-bats, would have had a chance to bat in the ninth inning of a one-run game. Instead, David Lough hit and struck out.
“I’ve seen it in the past (Herrera not running balls out), and it’s been trickling in,” Mackanin said. “I just, I didn’t like it, and I just made a decision.”
Herrera got on the Tigers’ nerves, as well. The three hits were part of it, for sure. But his methodical routine between pitches is a pace of play nightmare.
“He definitely takes his time,” said Pelfrey, a classic, dead-panned understatement. “I told (Justin) Verlander he’s going to love facing him tomorrow. Ver likes to go, go, go. But he definitely takes his time in there. Allowed me to get a breather, I guess.
“Kind of annoying, though, especially when he’s getting a hit every at-bat.”
Herrera led off the game with an epic 14-pitch at-bat. He fouled off eight straight 3-2 fastballs at 94 mph and then hit a 93 mph heater up the middle for a single.
“I came in thinking I wanted to have good fastball command and get through seven innings,” Pelfrey said. “After that at-bat I said, ‘Well, just try to get through five, I guess.’ Mac (catcher James McCann) called for a few splitters in there, but I didn’t want to throw a splitter and him not chase and I end up walking him.
“I kept pumping heaters, hoping he’d swing through one or hit it at somebody. After that I just laughed. After I got the double play (from the next hitter), I laughed.”
A couple of weeks ago, pundits — both locally and nationally — were wondering if Miguel Cabrera had lost his mojo; if he’d lost his power stroke.
Doubtful. Cabrera hit two home runs Monday and has hit five homers in four games. He’s got 11 on the season, 28 RBIs and a .588 slugging percentage.
“That just shows that this game can be crazy and frustrating at times,” said Victor Martinez. “I bet there was a lot of people out there talking about, ‘Miggy is done, this and that.’ I really want to hear what they are saying now.
“With all due respect to all of the players in the league, Miggy is the best hitter in the game. He’s allowed to struggle once in a while. This is a game.”
Cabrera also recorded his 500th career double Monday. He is the 62nd player in major league history to hit 500 doubles.
“It means a lot to me,” Cabrera said. “Like I say before, we come from another country. People don’t know where we come from, how we grow up. We make it this far and it’s a perfect passion for us.
“I just hope I can play six months and I hope I can play every day. I think that’s our goal, go out there and try to play 100 percent every day and try to win some more games.”
Steven Moya, a late addition to the starting lineup for Justin Upton (quad tightness), was on third base with one out in the fourth inning. Jose Iglesias hit a soft liner to shortstop Freddie Galvis.
Galvis was playing back, but Moya froze and didn’t try to score on the play.
“As a runner, he’s not sure if the shortstop is going to catch it or not,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “If he takes off and the ball is caught in the air, he gets doubled off. This is what we teach guys in spring training. Freeze on a line drive, see it through the infield.
“Moya did the right thing. It was just a tough read.”
The Tigers wound up not scoring in the inning after having runners on second and third and nobody out.
Upton was scratched after batting practice Monday. His right quad tightened on him.
“Nothing major,” Ausmus said. “We just don’t want to make something out of it. He took batting practice and felt a little something. We just decided to scratch him. We will see how it feels tomorrow.”