The Tigers came into their weekend home opener, against the Yankees, looking to bounce back after losing the opening series to the Minnesota Twins. On Saturday, the Tigers handled the Yankee bats willfully, allowing only six hits while striking out ten. Solid pitching performances where turned out by Max Scherzer and Al Alburquerque.
During the sixth inning, with Alburqurerque on the mound, Yankee manager Joe Girardi had a lengthy exchange with home plate umpire Jerry Lane regarding a series of pitches. After losing his argument with Layne, Girardi set to explain himself in front of the media.
“I think Alburquerque balks every time,” Girardi said to reporters. “One time his foot goes up twice. One time it goes up once. If a guy’s trying to steal a base and he goes up twice one time and goes up once one time, if you’re going to squeeze, you don’t know when to go as the runner. I think it’s a balk.”
This isn’t the first time Girardi seen this. As MLB.com’s Jason Beck points out, Alburquerque balked in game four of the American League divisional series in 2011.
Following Girardi’s comments, Tiger pitching coach Jeff Jones disagreed, but said they will work on it.
“Personally, I don’t think what he does is a balk,” Jones said to reporters on Sunday, “but I don’t want to get into a situation where another umpire calls it. … We’re going to try to eliminate any doubt.”