Beat ‘em again. Blank ‘em out again if you can. Sweep ‘em in their ballpark. That’s the best form of “retaliation” that the Cincinnati Reds can pay to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Why? It’s pretty simple.
The plunkings remind me of the Reds trying to get the Cardinals attention in 2010. The Cards took the bait and the Reds rope-a-doped them.
— Joel Luckhaupt (@jluckhaupt) June 2, 2013
I agree, Joel. Completely agree. This is all eerily reminiscent. No need to let Pittsburgh have anything on which to build.
Chatter has ratcheted due to what has occurred in the first two games of the series: Brandon Phillips being plunked by Pirates pitchers in each of the series’ first two games.
Two nights ago, it was the first pitch of the at-bat. Last night, it was an 0-2 count. Lack of control on Friday? Now ahead in the count? Are opponents looking for every opportunity to get some form of payback against the Reds with BP as their target?
Pirates pitchers have now hit 4 Reds batters in the first 2 games of the series. BP twice, Choo and Todd Frazier. Pirates batters hit: one (McCutchen).
The result of the last night’s beaning is that BP will not be available today. Maybe longer. He was removed from last night’s game and BP thought his forearm was broken (via Mark Sheldon on MLB.com).
“He got me good,” Phillips said. “When he hit me, I thought it was broke for sure. That was the first thing that hit my mind. It made one of those sounds. I was like, ‘Oh man, I think I might be done.’ I can’t really close my fist all the way.”
And if Phillips is upset, he has every right to be.
Any correlation drawn between Shin-Soo Choo and his high number of HBP (a ghastly 15) and these past two involving BP are dismissable…easily. Choo stands close to the plate as has been endlessly discussed. BP doesn’t.
Pirates fans could be thinking that this is “just desserts” for the Andrew McCutchen plunkings? Yes, now plural. Johnny Cueto got the Buccos center fielder in the first game of the series. Aroldis Chapman got him last August. Both times came on the first pitch of the AB.
But hit a guy and now he’s unable to play? How would Pirates fans feel if McCutchen was unable to play due to the same situation? They would be infuriated as well as the entire team.
The line has been crossed. Delivering a message is one thing, but now the stakes are raised. “Gotta get back at ‘em for this,” some Reds fans will scream.
The best way for the Reds to get back at the Pirates isn’t to hit McCutchen or any other Pirates player for that matter. Far from it, although I know some from both fanbases will howl (or have already howled) for benches to clear – which is simply ludicrous – as a means to fill their entertainment void. You don’t “even the score” in this situation.
No, the best way to get back is to complete the sweep, blank ‘em again if at all possible. Leave PNC Park as the bigger, and more importantly, the better team.
Cast a shroud of doubt over their roster and fanbase.