Shane Victorino has been lauded for making hay from the batter’s box ever since he started hitting exclusively right-handed. But that righty stance — or just the way Victorino stands in the box — has some people thinking that’s also why Victorino has been hit by pitches five times this postseason and an American League-leading 18 times this year (11 of which came in the 38 games after he started batting only right-handed).
Those “some people” include Tigers hurler Justin Verlander, who is pitching Game 3 for Detroit on Tuesday afternoon. He had a message for the American League Championship Series umpires ahead of his outing.
“I’ve seen pitches that [Victorino] got hit on that were strikes,” Verlander told reporters Monday. “So, I mean, I don’t think you can worry about that. I think just whoever is the home plate umpire needs to be aware he’s up there.”
Verlander said Victorino is “right on top of the plate,” with his arms leaning out of the batter’s box and into the zone.
“Anything on the inner half, occasionally he’s looking to get hit,” Verlander said. “… If he doesn’t get out of the way, there could be an occasion that it could be a strike and it actually hits him. That’s something that I think that those guys [umpires] are aware of.”
Verlander said he can’t let himself get distracted by the possibility of plunking Victorino.
“You can’t think about not hitting a guy,” he said. “You’ve got to think about executing your pitches and not changing anything because of that. And hopefully, if something like that happens, those guys are on top of it.”
Victorino is 6-for-21 in the playoffs so far, with eight strikeouts and no walks. He was hit by Detroit starter Max Scherzer in Game 2, but that pitch was not over the plate.