Jered Weaver was great until his temper got the better of him, but Justin Verlander was unhittable.
The Angels lost 3-2 to the Detroit Tigers on Sunday in a game rife with dominant pitching and bad blood. The Angels' first hit off Verlander didn't come until there were two outs in the eighth inning. A batter later, Verlander struck out Torii Hunter on a 101-mph fastball.
Weaver, clearly unhappy about two earlier Tigers' showboating after home runs, was ejected an inning earlier for throwing at a Detroit batter.
Erick Aybar's creativity. The sellout crowd didn't like it. Verlander didn't like it. But, given how the Tigers had acted earlier, who cares how they felt? Erick Aybar showed savvy trying to bunt for the Angels' first hit. Verlander had been waiting around after Weaver's ejection and it was a good bet that he would be flustered, and he was, throwing wildly to first. It may have broken an unwritten baseball rule, but those shouldn't matter when a team has a chance to win a key game in a pennant race.
It should have been ruled a hit, but the official scorer was off the hook when Maicer Izturis lined a clean single to left later in the inning.
The TV replay later showed Verlander yelling at Aybar from the dugout and pointing to the middle of his back. Lucky for Aybar, the teams won't meet again until next year ... unless they meet in the playoffs.
Weaver's pitching. The game was hyped heavily in Detroit and it actually lived up to the billing strictly in a baseball sense. Weaver wasn't quite as sharp as Verlander -- few have been -- but he allowed only four hits and struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings.
Maicer Izturis. He calmly stroked a base hit to left field to save the Angels the indignity they had inflicted on the Cleveland Indians four days earlier: a no-hitter.
Magglio Ordonez's antics. He got a hanging slider and pummeled it over the left-field fence to determine this duel's outcome early. Then, he took a while to enjoy the sight of it sailing away. That's great, Magglio, but act like you've been there before. Oh wait, he hasn't been -- often. It was only Ordonez's fourth home run this year.
Carlos Guillen's antics. Guillen made a big show of standing at the plate after his seventh-inning solo blast off Weaver. He also stared at him the whole way to first. It seems like kind of a childish move for such a respected veteran. Too bad baseball doesn't have a 15-yard penalty for taunting.
Weaver's temper. Even with all of that being said, for Weaver to throw a 92-mph fastball over Alex Avila's head was ridiculous. You could see in Weaver's eyes before that pitch that he was seething. Poor sportsmanship is one thing; throwing at a player's head is about safety. Weaver deserved to be ejected.