Yost: There's a 'proper way' to back off hitters
NEW YORK -- On Saturday, the day after Mets starter Noah Syndergaard threw the first pitch of Game 3 near the head of shortstop Alcides Escobar, the topic hadn't died down.
Royals manager Ned Yost said that he, like his players, didn't approve of Syndergaard's tactic to get Escobar off the plate.
"I didn't expect him to throw a strike, but I didn't expect him to throw it under his chin, either," Yost said. "But we've got a few tricks up our sleeves, too. Let's go with that."
Yost wouldn't elaborate, but he indicated those tricks would not involve throwing at the heads of Mets hitters.
Interestingly, catcher Salvador Perez told Yost that Syndergaard indicated during his plate appearance in the third inning that he wasn't trying to throw at Escobar's head.
"He just said [to Perez] that he wasn't trying to throw it up and under his chin, that he didn't mean to do it," Yost said.
But Syndergaard said after the game that he did intend to throw it up and in.
Yost wasn't surprised that his players vowed to get even.
"Well, our guys rally around each other," Yost said. "And it's just a dangerous spot to throw a ball, especially when you throw that hard. Throwing underneath somebody's chin, if it was intentional, not intentional, you know, it's just a bad spot. There's a lot of different places that you could throw that ball if you didn't want to throw a first-pitch strike.
"But our guys rally around it. Our guys, they've been like that all year long. That kind of stuff, when that kind of stuff happens, they always find a way to get fired up and kind of take care of it themselves on the field -- not by throwing at people but by swinging the bats and playing good defense."
Yost said there is a proper way to get hitters off the plate.
"We talk about just moving your feet, anything from, like, [the chest] down, to back guys off the plate," Yost said. "You've seen us at times with Daniel Murphy, pitching in on him, but it's never been up and in. It's always been right [at the chest], in, to back him off the plate."
"When we start getting up around the head, throwing that hard, that's dangerous stuff, man. It is. And there's times where it happens accidentally. But if you're trying to do it, that's not right. That's not acceptable, because there's just too much that can happen. You can end a player's career by not intentionally hitting them in the head, because if you miss by two, three, four inches, there you go."
"I think his comments indicated that he was throwing a pitch for a competitive purpose, not with an intention to hit anyone," Commissioner Rob Manfred said Saturday about Syndergaard's first pitch. "You know, good hard baseball. It doesn't concern me."
Asked if he was contemplating discipline, Manfred said simply, "No."
No substitutions: Yost is simply not a manager who pinch-hits for his regulars. In fact, he has not pinch-hit for any of his starters this season unless it was for health concerns.
The question was raised as to why Yost didn't pinch-hit Kendrys Morales when Alex Rios came up with the bases loaded in the sixth inning of Game 3.
"I would never do that," Yost said. "Rios had just roped a hit into the corner and had another hard groundout, and he's been one of our hottest hitters for two months."
Rios, in fact, is hitting .310 in the postseason. After a hot start against Houston in the American League Division Series, Morales is hitting just .245 in the postseason.