Loss leaves Tigers with that ejected feeling
Detroit — Thank goodness for the 25-man roster.
And for deep coaching staffs.
The Tigers looked for a while Saturday night at Comerica Park as if they’d need reserves — in the field and in the dugout — after four of their employees were tossed by home-plate umpire Mike Everitt during the Los Angeles Angels’ 3-2 victory, which put an end to Detroit’s five-game winning streak.
Victor Martinez was ejected, for only the fourth time in his long career, after he launched into a long, incendiary verbal war with Everitt in the third inning that could have turned worse had Tigers manager Brad Ausmus not intervened.
Not long after Martinez finally was steered to the dugout, he tossed his batting helmet on a distant, high-arc flight path. The helmet landed on grass 30 feet from home plate.
Two innings later, Tigers hitting coach Wally Joyner apparently was chafed over a called third strike on Ian Kinsler — Everitt had been hearing it from the Tigers since the first inning — and was overly vocal, at least as far as Everitt was concerned.
Joyner was dismissed for the second time in his coaching career.
The purge wasn’t over.
J.D. Martinez wasn’t appreciative of a called third strike in the sixth and so informed Everitt. He was excused, as was Ausmus, who upon seeing Everitt’s thumb decided he had endured enough. As had Everitt.
“I don’t know, man — he had a short leash today, I guess,” said J.D. Martinez, who was one of the few banished Tigers still on hand after this baseball-styled episode of “Family Feud.”
“I just told him he was having a bad day. Honestly, that’s what I said: ‘You’re having a bad day.’ And he’s like: ‘You’re gone.’
“I said: Why am I gone? He said: ‘Because you said it twice.’
“I said: ‘You asked me what I said.’
“I was shocked,” said Martinez, who had never before been tossed from a game. “He seems like a great guy to me. I’ve dealt with him before and he’s fine. It just seemed like one of those days.”
Everitt, an umpire since 1997 and generally acknowledged Saturday by the Tigers as a “good umpire,” was spare in his postgame comments as he talked, briefly, in the umpires’ dressing room.
“All of the players, the manager, and the coaches, were warned, and sometimes more than once or twice,” said Everitt, who is also crew chief for his partners Tim Timmons, Pat Hoberg, and Jordan Baker.
“I will be filing a report with the Commissioner’s office in New York.”
Ausmus, who was disqualified for the 10th time in his managerial career, was careful in talking about a game with nearly as many fireworks as were shot into the sky as part of a standard postgame Saturday night at Comerica Park.
“I think there were a number of players in the lineup that were frustrated with some of the pitches that were being called,” Ausmus said. “It’s part of the game. Umpires have off-nights, too. But we felt that it affected our offense.”
There was, in between the exiling of Tigers, a baseball game Saturday night as 33,115 hung on following a heavy afternoon of showers that gave way to a pleasant evening.
That is, if you weren’t part of the ballpark audience, which gave it to Everitt as heavily as a home crowd has berated an umpire in years.
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the first on Ian Kinsler’s sixth leadoff homer of 2016, a high-soaring bomb that landed just beyond the left-field fence.
But on a night when rookie Michael Fulmer was not the Fulmer of past, razor-sharp outings, the Angels got three runs in the second, two on No. 9 hitter Kaleb Cowart’s first home run of 2016, and second in his big-league career, when he lifted a Fulmer fastball into the right-field seats.
Two singles sandwiched around a walk scored another run as the Angels grabbed a 3-1 lead.
The Tigers didn’t score again until the eighth when Miguel Cabrera and Tyler Collins — filling in for Victor Martinez — rapped back-to-back singles, with Cabrera coming home on a ground out to first by Andrew Romine, who was J.D. Martinez’s stand-in.
The Tigers had behaved early as if they might stomp on Angels starter Brett Oberholtzer. Following the leadoff rocket by Kinsler, Cameron Maybin and Cabrera walked ahead of a single by Victor Martinez.
There was one problem. Maybin had been tossed out ahead of Cabrera’s walk when he tried to steal second and didn’t make it.
The Tigers’ troubles with Everitt started an inning later when James McCann was called out on a pitch he thought was low.
McCann stood at home plate, bent over in disbelief and in protest, and discussed, rather edgily, each man’s interpretation of the strike zone.
The crowd quickly joined in the Tigers’ irritation with Everitt.
And so did a mounting collection of players, who in concert with a manager and a hitting coach, were soon awarded the remainder of the night off.
“Everybody was on the edge of getting tossed, it seemed,” J.D. Martinez said. “It’s just part of the game. You’ve got to put it behind and get ready for tomorrow.”