The Chicago Cubs defeated the Colorado Rockies in a boat race on Wednesday, winning by a 10-1 final in the series finale. The contest featured more drama than the score suggests, however, as the two sides engaged in a beanball war that caused Colorado's all-world third baseman Nolan Arenado to depart the game early.
Before getting to Wednesday's events, it's important to understand that the two sides have more history than you'd expect based on their limited exposure to one another. The Rockies defeated the Cubs in last year's National League Wild Card Game, but Chicago's beef with the Rockies has to do in part with their propensity for hitting Kris Bryant. Dating back to last season, Bryant has been beaned four times by Colorado, including twice on Tuesday.
Though Bryant was out of the lineup on Wednesday, he seemed to be on Cole Hamels' mind when the veteran southpaw threw a pitch at Arenado. For his part, Arenado reacted as though ti was intentional, seemingly telling Hamels that the pitch was "too high" for comfort. Arenado would later leave the game due to a forearm contusion.
That wasn't the end of the whole juvenile mess, either. Rather, the Rockies would hit Hamels in the seventh inning, then Anthony Rizzo in the eighth. Rizzo responded by stealing second (and nearly third) before trotting home on a Javier Baez home run. And yes, Baez appeared to stare down pitcher Philip Diehl.
There was yet another hit-by-pitch in the ninth, as Cubs reliever Brad Brach beaned Tony Wolters. The Rockies argued that Brach should be ejected, as warnings had been handed out, but the umpires concluded that Brach didn't intend for the ball to end up where it did -- probably a fair conclusion, given that Brach entered the game having walked 22 batters in 25 innings.
Brach drills Wolters in back -- an inning after warnings issued -- but ump apparently does not trust Brach's command enough to believe it was intentional. So not ejected.— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) June 12, 2019
Bud Black argues.
Do note that Cubs manager Joe Maddon had conceded Bryant's beanings were unintentional in nature. As such, either Maddon sings a different tune behind closed doors, or Hamels disagreed with the evaluation and decided to take action. Whatever the case, this is yet another instance of ballplayers behaving poorly.
For those wondering, the two sides will not play again this regular season. It's probably for the best.