Many fans took to Twitter to say as much Saturday evening, claiming that Scherzer only struck Tabata’s left elbow because Tabata leaned into it.
The video evidence is compelling, although this is something that can’t legitimately be verified short of an admission of sorts by Tabata. With two outs in the ninth and Tabata facing a 2–2 count, Scherzer’s eighth pitch of the at-bat was an 86 MPH slider that struck Tabata just at the bottom of his elbow.
Sure, there’s a case to be made for saying Tabata lowered his body and extended the elbow out just enough to draw the HBP. But was it intentional, or somewhat of a natural reaction? Cases could be, and were, made both ways.
Scherzer, for his part, shared no ill will toward Tabata.
Many others, of course, cried foul on Tabata.
On slow-mo replay of Tabata HBP, he moved 1" toward ball imo. My headline might be: Scherzer perfect game "broken up" by ump Mike Muchlinski— Thomas Boswell (@ThomasBoswellWP) June 20, 2015
Safe to say Tabata can expect some chin music the next time he steps in against the Nats.— Zack Novak (@novak3159) June 20, 2015
Thanks to @BaseballVines, we even have an informal poll. Not surprisingly, an overwhelming majority said Tabata leaned in.
Los Angeles Dodgers righthander Brandon McCarthy was one of the more notable reactions, and he took the side of the play being a normal HBP.
looked like a totally normal reaction from a hitter to an inside breaking ball- why the hate?— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) June 20, 2015
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