A contentious season series between the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies concluded Wednesday with a one-sided 10-1 win by the Cubs.
However, it wasn’t the run tally that had everyone talking after the game. It was the tally of bruises and hard feelings after a series filled with batters being hit or buzzed by pitches.
In total, seven batters were hit during this week’s three-game series in Denver. A couple more had pitches buzz by their chin.
Rockies All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado was the only casualty. He was forced to leave Wednesday’s series finale with a bruised left arm after being hit by left-hander Cole Hamels in the third inning, and was none too pleased about it.
Arenado says he knew the pitch was coming after Kris Bryant was buzzed by a pitch earlier in the game. But that wasn’t why he chirped at Hamels in the aftermath. He just didn’t appreciate the location of Hamels’ alleged retaliation.
"We hit Bryant twice yesterday, buzzed his tower there, 1-1 pitch, so I kind of had a feeling it was going to happen," Arenado told reporters after the game. "I just thought it was high, that was it."
Arenado also indicated that the issues between the teams are far from settled.
If the Rockies face the Cubs again this season, after today's game filled with plunkings, "it would be a spicy series," Nolan Arenado said.
— Nick Groke (@nickgroke) June 12, 2019
Those are the types of words that would earn a pregame warning from umpires if these teams played again tomorrow. Fortunately, they will be given plenty of time to cool down.
If the Cubs and Rockies do play again this season, it will come in the postseason.
That is a distinct possibility given that the Cubs are currently tied for first in the NL Central and the Rockies are within striking distance of the NL wild card. But it’s probably not a series the league would look forward to dealing with.
These teams also met in last year’s NL wild-card game, which the Rockies won 2-1.
‘Don’t sit there and jabber’
Nolan Arenado wasn’t the only one fired up. But it was his reaction that seemed to fire up the Cubs even more than the hit batters did.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon explained why after the game.
“We get hit a lot. Rizzo gets hit a lot. KB [Kris Bryant] gets hit a lot. I’ve always said: You got two options. Go to the mound or go to first base. But don’t sit there and jabber. Make up your mind. Do one or the other.”
There’s some history here that even dates back to last season. That’s when Kris Bryant was forced to miss time after being hit in the head by a pitch at Coors Field.
Before Arenado was hit, Cubs batters had been hit four more times — twice this week and twice last week in Chicago — by Rockies pitchers this season, but never stopped to “jabber” as Maddon put it.
That’s why Arenado’s reaction didn’t sit particularly well with the Cubs.
Cole Hamels being hit on the foot by a pitch two innings later didn’t set well either. That’s when the umpires warned both benches. Though despite that warning, another batter from each team was hit later in the game without an ejection.
So much for the umpires policing the action.
Now it will be up to the league to determine whether there was intent behind any of Wednesday’s pitches, and what the appropriate punishment will be. If there are suspensions, don’t expect severe ones since there were no ejections.
The same won’t be said though if the silliness continues when these team meet again.
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