DETROIT — Indians manager Eric Wedge was still steaming over the umpiring crew penalizing reliever Rafael Betancourt for taking too much time during Tuesday’s 5-4 victory over the Tigers.
On two separate occasions, batters were awarded balls when the notoriously slow Betancourt exceeded the allotted time between pitches, as prescribed by Major League Baseball rule 8.04.
According to the rule, when the bases are empty and the pitcher is “in possession of the ball and the batter is in the box, alert to the pitcher,” the pitcher has 12 seconds to deliver the ball.
Wedge understands the rule but not the timing of the call Tuesday, which first came in the eighth inning, then again in the ninth, with the game tied at four. Second base umpire Doug Eddings clocked Betancourt with a stopwatch.
“At that point in time, talk about getting involved, disrupting the game unnecessarily,” Wedge said. “The important thing is to let the kids play.”
After the game, Wedge hinted that the Tigers or manager Jim Leyland tipped the umpires off. He met with Leyland before the game Wednesday and said Detroit’s manager was not the culprit.
Betancourt, one of the majors’ top setup men, said he was warned one other time in Cincinnati this year, but was not penalized.
“It’s kind of hard, man,” Betancourt said. “In tight games I like to take my time. I’m not going to go in there and just throw to home plate. That’s the way I pitch, especially late in the game.
“Sometimes you have to laugh. I’ve seen a lot of pitchers taking their time and a lot of them that are fast. Everybody’s different. They pick me. That’s fine.”
Betancourt said he would not alter his style and his manager doesn’t want him to.
“I want Raffy to pitch the way Raffy pitches,” Wedge said.
The Indians’ sparkling record against Central Division opponents through Tuesday (18-7) extends to the Tigers, who they beat six times in the first eight meetings.
Cleveland entered Wednesday hitting .292 and averaging 6.6 runs with 18 homers against Detroit.
Grady Sizemore hit into just his second double play of the season on Tuesday night, grounding into a 4-6-3 in the fifth inning with runners on first and third and one out.
It was the first time Cleveland’s leadoff hitter grounded into a double play since May 22 at Kansas City.
The Indians entered Wednesday grounding into the fewest double plays in the majors at 53 through 83 games.
SportsTime Ohio lost their feed at an inopportune time Tuesday night, going off the air while Casey Blake hit the game-winning homer in the top of the 11th inning.
STO returned for the bottom of the inning and showed highlights of Blake’s homer.
“You hate to see that happen,” said STO director Pat Murray, who cited the obvious technical difficulties for the brief blackout.
Single-A Lake County pitchers combined to throw their second no-hitter of the season Wednesday in a 3-0 victory over Delmarva, with starter Hector Rondon working six innings and Neil Wagner pitching the final three. The Captains also tossed a combined no-hitter against Delmarva on June 24.
Today marks the 60th anniversary of Indians Hall of Famer Larry Doby breaking the American League color barrier. The Indians will honor Doby on Aug. 10, at Jacobs Field, with players wearing his No. 14 in a game against the Yankees.
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7137 or firstname.lastname@example.org.