Cincinnati Reds: David Bell was completely justified in his frustration

CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 29: Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell argues with home plate umpire Mark Wegner prior to being ejected in the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park on June 29, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Cubs won 6-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 29: Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell argues with home plate umpire Mark Wegner prior to being ejected in the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park on June 29, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Cubs won 6-0. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell was ejected for the sixth time this season during yesterday’s game. Bell was more than justified in his frustration with regards to how the situation was handled.

During yesterday’s 6-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds‘ skipper David Bell was ejected. It came during the ninth inning after José Peraza was plunked by relief pitcher Dillon Maples. Peraza was the third Reds player hit by pitch during the game, and after both benches were warned following a benches-clearing scuffle, Bell was completely justified in his anger.

With two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning and the Cubs leading the Reds 5-0, Pedro Strop hit Yasiel Puig in the leg with a 93-MPH fastball. Did I mention it was on a 3-0 count and Strop had already thrown a 94-MPH fastball well inside on his first pitch?

Was Strop intentionally throwing at Puig? Um, yeah, I tend to think so. It looked to me as though the first pitch was intended to do just that, but Puig moved out of the way. Every pitcher in the league should know by now that if you want to get Puig to swing at a ball outside the zone, you throw it low and away.

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It was also a 3-0 count. C’mon! A 3-0 count with a 5-0 lead is begging for a pitch right down the middle, not ridiculously inside. If anyone wants to disagree that Strop intentionally threw at Puig, you’re free to do so, but I’ve of the opinion that it was on purpose. Obviously Puig felt the same way as he slowly made his way to the mound after being plunked.

Reds fans know all too well how an inside pitch that strikes an opposing batter can derail a player’s trajectory. Both Joey Votto and Eugenio Suárez missed time last year after being hit by pitches. While Suárez’s HBP that broke his thumb seemed unintentional, the fastball from Ryan Madson that struck Votto in the knee still boils the blood of Reds Country.

Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed, no punches were thrown, and no one was ejected. However, both benches were warned, and that’s where Bells’ beef with the umpire is completely justified. With two outs in the ninth inning, Peraza was hit by Maples’ 84-MPH curveball. Do I believe Maples intentionally hit Peraza? No, but that’s beside the point.

Following a contentious fracas just one inning prior, knowing there’s a game tomorrow, the umpire should’ve ejected Maples. Again, not because of the intent, but because of the optics. If both benches were given a warning, an ejection is warranted just to keep the peace and maintain order.

Instead, David Bell questioned the umpire’s judgement and was promptly ejected. This is nothing new from Bell, as we’ve seen him on several occasions this season come to the defense of his players, especially if it involves their safety.

What if Robert Stephenson had hit Kris Bryant in the top of the ninth inning? Do you think the umpire would’ve allowed him to face the next batter? Of course not. Stephenson would’ve been sent to the showers regardless of intent. Why? Because one inning prior his team was involved in a benches-clearing brouhaha.

David Bell vented his frustrations after the game. As suspected, home plate umpire Mark Wegner told Bell that he didn’t believe Maples pitch that hit Peraza was intentional. However, that didn’t sit well with Bell. Here’s what Bell said after the game via Reds.com:

"“I don’t like when our guys get hit. We care about our players, and we don’t like them getting hit. Yasiel got hit and both teams got warned, and then Jose got it. It was a matter of not liking our guys get hit.”"

Again, I agree with Wegner. I don’t think Maples intentionally hit Peraza. If a pitcher is purposefully going to hit a batter, he’s usually going to throw something harder than a curveball. But at that time, intent is irrelevant.

Next. Midseason grades for the Reds starting pitchers

The Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs wrap up this weekend series with a 1:10 start as Anthony DeSclafani heads to mound after a horrendous outing last week in Milwaukee. Jon Lester will be on the mound for the Cubs. This one could get interesting very quickly.