Mariners claim Angels changed pitchers pregame to throw at batters
Several members of the Mariners expressed anger at their AL West rivals following Sunday's ugly brawl at Angel Stadium, specifically pointing to the Angels' sudden pregame change of starting pitchers as a sign of their true intentions. They believe the Angels were eyeing revenge after a pitch sailed over Mike Trout's head late in Saturday's game.
"It's pretty clear what's going on. They switched an opener in there to throw some balls at us, and it got out of hand from there," Mariners manager Scott Servais told reporters postgame, according to Greg Beacham of The Associated Press.
Servais added, "I've often said that (when) people show you who they are, believe them. And I'll leave it at that."
The bad blood may have stemmed from an incident in the ninth inning of Saturday's game when Mariners reliever Erik Swanson sailed a fastball above Trout's head, knocking the superstar to the ground. Trout was then intentionally walked and Swanson closed out a 5-3 Seattle win.
The three-time MVP was upset about the pitch postgame, though Swanson denied any intent given the game situation at the time. Crew chief Adrian Johnson told Daniel Kramer of MLB.com that the umpires didn't think that pitch was enough to issue warnings ahead of Sunday's contest.
Shortly before first pitch Sunday, the Halos scratched scheduled starter Jose Suarez in favor of opener Andrew Wantz, who made his first career start. Wantz threw behind Julio Rodriguez in the first inning, prompting warnings to be issued, then hit Jesse Winker in the second to kick-start the melee. Suarez took over on the mound for Wantz following the brawl.
Wantz insisted he wasn't throwing at the Mariners.
"The first one just kind of got away from me," he explained, according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. "I was sweaty. It's the first day game I've pitched in. That's that. The second one to Winker was a cut fastball inside and just yanked it. That's all I gotta say."
Mariners starter Marco Gonzales wasn't buying any of it.
"My only comment is it's classless," Gonzales said. "To throw at Julio, who's a kid, over something that happened last night when we were trying to win a ballgame in the ninth inning (and not) put the tying run on base, it's just classless to come out and change your pitcher before the game.
"It's clear. The intention is clear. They called down to the bullpen right after the first pitch was thrown. They knew what they were doing. ... We're trying to win. (I) can't say the same for what they're doing over there."