It was an anniversary that Nick Markakis certainly didn’t celebrate. One year ago yesterday, his 2012 season ended when he was hit by a pitch from Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia.
Markakis suffered a broken left thumb then and his season was over. Click here to read the story from that night.
There are some Orioles fans that still feel, a year later, that the pitch was intentional, although several Orioles players said they did not feel that way. Either way, it kept Markakis out of the 2012 postseason. A postseason where Sabathia beat the Orioles twice to knock them out of the playoffs.
Today, I asked manager Buck Showalter if he was convinced that pitch was not intentional?
“You know what, it doesn’t really matter,” Showalter said. “There are a lot of pitchers, in order to pitch at this level, you have to go inside. I understand that. Nick understands that, our pitchers understand that.
“Do I think he went in there with malice intending to do what happened? Of course not. No. No.
“You have to throw the ball in there, this is where I am trying to throw it but if it’s six inches further in. It is what is. It was an unfortunate break.”
Showalter said good hitters who hang in there close to plate against good pitchers, run that risk of a serious injury every time they step in the box.
“Everyday you deal with that,” he said. “There is that possibility. Spheres moving around at 90-something miles per hour don’t you give enough time to vacate where they are headed. Pretty deep stuff there.
“All pitchers throw inside and it’s not always in a place....The same reason why left-handed hitters hit good left-handed pitchers is the same reason why they’re susceptible to not being able to get out of the way of some of those.
“If you start bailing on that, you have no chance against the breaking ball. And guys who hit good pitcher’s breaking balls - right on right and left on left - don’t give and Nicky don’t give.”
By the way here is what Chris Davis said last September, the morning after Markakis’ season ended with that hit by pitch -
“You know what? In a game like that, when it is that close, if you are throwing at guys, then your intent is obviously not to win the game,” Davis said. “It is hard for me to believe that CC would intentionally throw at Nick, especially when he had him 0-2. I don’t think he is that kind of player.
“To be honest with you, we are not looking to pick a fight. If they bring one to our front doorstep, we are not going to back down. But we are not trying to pick fights out here. We are trying to win a division. I know there is a lot frustration over there. Just take it as it is and keep playing.”
The Sabathia who pitched two dominant games against the Orioles last October, doesn’t seem to resemble the lefty pitching for the Yankees lately.
Sabathia is 4-3 but with an ERA of 6.88 since the All-Star break. In five starts at Camden Yards the last two seasons, Sabathia is 0-3 with a 5.97 ERA, giving up six homers in 31 2/3 innings.