Could we be witnessing the beginning of baseball’s next great inter-divisional rivalry?
One could argue that the rivalry has been brewing since last year when Aroldis Chapman drilled Andrew McCutchen with one of his typical faster than fastballs on his arm near his head. The next day, Mike Leake hit backup infielder Josh Harrison with a pitch, leading to an exchange of words between the two. Relief pitcher Jared Hughes then shoved Reds’ backup catcher Dioner Navarro unnecessarily hard in the back on a tag out.
Fast forward to 2013. The Pirates, who lead the NL in hit batsmen, definitely have not forgotten the incident, drilling 9 Reds’ hitters on the season, their most against anybody. In particular, relief pitcher Mike Zagurski hit Reds’ second baseman Brandon Phillips in the arm, resulting in him missing 4 games. Last night, starting pitcher Mike Leake drilled Andrew McCutchen with a cutter on the shoulder. Later in the game, hard-throwing Arolis Chapman narrowly missed hitting Pirates’ second baseman Neil Walker in the head with a pitch .
Tonight, the Reds and Pirates square off yet again. Pirates’ starter Charlie Morton drilled Shin Soo Choo on the thigh with his first pitch of the game. Tensions are reaching a boiling point, and with a guy like Mat Latos, who is known to be a bit hot-headed, this could get ugly fast. There is a good chance we could see these two teams engaged in a benches-clearing brawl sometime tonight.