DETROIT — Shane Victorino has been hit by a pitch five times in the playoffs, to go with the 18 times he was plunked in the regular season, and from the vantage point of Tigers ace Justin Verlander, some of the pitches that hit him weren’t the pitchers’ fault.
“I’ve seen some pitches that he got hit on that were strikes,” Verlander said. “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 that he’s up there.”
In August, Victorino, a switch hitter, started hitting exclusively from the right side of the plate. In the last two months of the season, he was hit 15 times.
Verlander said sometimes it appears as if he’s eating pitches on purpose.
“Anything on the inner half, occasionally he’s looking to get hit,” Verlander said. “He’s up there, he’s right on top of the plate. And his arms are over the batter’s box and over part of the plate. 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.”
Victorino was dotted in Game 2 by Max Scherzer by a first-pitch fastball that was well out of the zone, but Verlander said the umpires will have to keep an eye on Victorino hovering over the plate.
“That’s something that I think that those guys are aware of,” Verlander said. “But you can’t think about not hitting a guy. 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.”