I’m not saying freshly-called reliever Brad Boxberger came out tonight in the ninth to hit Willson Contreras. I’m pretty sure even Contreras doesn’t think that.
But when you were dominated the night before and then hit again, for the SIXTH TIME by the Brewers in the last 11 games against them, you’re going to react, if only for an angry flourish:
After taking a hit to the helmet yesterday, Willson Contreras hits him again tonight and he’s not happy. Multiple #Cubes batters have been hit or thrown during the series so far.
– Cubz Zone ™ ️ (@CubsZone) April 7, 2021
Contreras was just mad there. Can you understand it:
The Brewers certainly aren’t trying to hit Willson Contreras in the ninth with a four-run lead and a newly activated pitcher this afternoon from alternate site. But as Travis Shaw just said, you can understand why Contreras’ temper flared. pic.twitter.com/z9VseRoscx
– Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) April 7, 2021
After the game, David Ross articulated the problem with these HBPs:
David Ross says Contreras opposes taking a hit to the head and shoulder in back-to-back games against the Brewers. “It’s scary. At some point you have to be better, you can’t keep trying to pitch in and hit the guys. You have to be better.” #Cubes
– Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) April 7, 2021
If you can’t reasonably place your shots in the inner half, then you should give some thought to whether they are worth going into there. Not just because you could give up a free, fast running back, but because you could risk serious injury to the hitter and retaliation for your teammates. I remember something John Baker talked about when it came to a period when the Pirates were famous for hitting hitters. Retaliation, or the threat of retaliation, wasn’t just about getting revenge on a team or whatever. Sometimes, it was about sending the message to the other team precisely in a situation like this: we have to stop hitting our guys, accident or not. If you can’t safely dive inside, you should reconsider your approach.
I don’t know if I agree with that or not, but after watching the Cubs take more hits than any other team in baseball in the past two years, I am getting upset. Yes, Anthony Rizzo takes care of sitting on top of the plate, but not everyone. And yet everyone takes hits all the time, especially Willson Contreras lately for the Brewers.
I doubt this is the end of this conversation between the teams.