10/13/08 9:12 PM ET
Phils hope inside pitching isn't affected
After fines, club plans to move on without abandoning strategy
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
Kuroda sailed a pitch behind Victorino's head in the third inning Sunday, likely as retaliation for Brett Myers throwing behind Ramirez in Game 2. Both benches cleared, and both teams were warned.Though no one was ejected, fines were issued: Kuroda ($7,500), Ramirez ($2,500), Duncan ($1,000), Bowa ($500), Victorino ($2,500), Romero ($1,000) and Lopes ($500). "What's the big deal?" Lopes said. "That's what I don't understand. They're making this big deal out of nothing. Nobody got hurt. It was just talking. Maybe someone got their feelings hurt. There's a lot more intensity. I just don't understand what was so terrible about that. I just don't see it for the life of me. That's what I find disturbing." The fines renewed the discussion regarding pitching inside to prevent hitters from diving over the plate. Old school managers like Charlie Manuel and Joe Torre see that need. "When Joe and I played, the game was more aggressive," Manuel said. "Anytime a pitcher gets ahead of you 0-2, 1-2, if you weren't careful, he'd stand you up and be very aggressive. Nowadays, with the way guys jump back from a ball and act like that you about killed them when you throw inside and miss them, the umpires see that." The side effect of that, according to Manuel, is that an umpire might be reluctant to call a strike inside, causing a pitcher to pitch away more as a way to stay ahead in the count. "I hear pitchers say, 'Why do I want to throw inside if he's only going to call it a ball?'" Manuel said. "To me, you've got to pitch inside. I tell Brett Myers especially, like when you throw your fastball, don't get in the habit of throwing it just away. You've got to stand hitters up." Myers stood up Ramirez in Game 2, though he said the pitch slipped, and that started this mess. With tensions subsided, Cole Hamels said that the past won't have any effect on his approach. "It's irrelevant," Hamels said. "Moreso, it affects Major League Baseball, because they're the police, and they mingle in a business that doesn't need to be mingled in. They need to allow us to play the game. Pitching inside is part of the game. I'm not going out there to hit guys, but I'll throw inside. If I hit a guy, let's hope I don't get thrown out. "I think one of the hardest things to do is hit somebody. I've had a couple of situations where I've been told to hit a guy and came nowhere close. It's very hard to do. The times I've actually hit guys it's been completely on accident."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.