Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 8/4/12
CINCINNATI -- As so often opens in a keenly-contested, hot-button baseball series, one small thing can grow and bloat and explode into something big. There is that possibility this weekend during the Cincinnati Reds-Pittsburgh Pirates series, a three-game argument for supremacy in the National League Central. All was calm and all was bright for the Reds with two outs in the ninth inning Friday night. Aroldis Chapman, the Cuban Fire-starter, was facing Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh's best player and perhaps the best player in baseball at the moment. Chapman threw a pitch up-and-in -- real up and real in. It was clocked at 101 miles and hour and it implanted baseball commissioner Bud Selig's signature on McCutchen's left shoulder. He didn't like it. The Pirates didn't like it. That's their best player that Chapman turned into William Tell's son. On Saturday afternoon the Pirates were still mumbling about the indiscretion, an indiscretion that Chapman and Reds manager Dusty Baker say it was purely accidental. To make certain, after Friday's game Baker asked Chapman if he hit McCutchen on purpose and Chapman said, "No, I didn't. It is just that he is going so good I was trying to go up and in on him." That satisfied Baker, but not the Pirates. Baker, though, understands Pittsburgh's displeasure. And so do the Reds. It's called baseball etiquette and in this case it is called, "You hit our No. 3 hitter and we'll hit your No. 3 hitter and then it's over." Cincinnati pitcher Homer Bailey asked before the game, "Who's gonna wear it tonight for us, who's going to bat third?" When told it was Brandon Phillips (later changed to Jay Bruce), Bailey said, "So they hit him in the side and we'll be done with it and we have a runner on base." It didn't work that way, though. It was the Reds once again igniting the fuse. Before the Pirates did any retaliating, Reds starter Mike Leake hit Josh Harrison with a pitch in the second inning. Some hard looks and hard stares were exchanged, then plate umpire Brian Gorman issued a warning to both dugouts. That meant that the next pitch thrown in anger would earn the ejection of the pitcher and his manager. Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle couldn't wait. He protested the warning and when he did it too vociferously he was excused for the rest of the night by Gorman. A Pittsburgh insider recalled that the Los Angeles Dodgers hit McCutchen a couple of years ago, but Pirates pitcher Zach Duke did not retaliate, "And he had a hard time living the with guys in the clubhouse the rest of the time he was here." That seemed almost like it was required that Pittsburgh's Saturday pitcher, James McDonald through a duster at Dusty's guys. Baker, a great admirer of McCutchen, put it in great perspective, as he so often does. "That's to be expected, what they think, when their best player gets hit," said Baker. "It wasn't intentional. We were just pitching him inside and when you pitch inside those things happen. I'd be upset, too, because it hurt. "He hasn't done anything to merit us hitting him intentionally except play hard. He just plays hard and has done nothing to merit us hitting him. He doesn't clown around, he doesn't show people up, he just plays hard and he plays great." When it was mentioned that the Pirates might not care about apologies or explanations, Baker said, "Well, there is nothing I can do about that. I can just tell you my feelings and my reasonings. I'm sorry if they took it that way but there was definitely no intent." Baker added one more thought by saying, "You know there isn't much difference between a ball and a strike on a hit batsman." Mat Latos shut out the Pirates for 7 13 innings in that game and said, "If he (McCutchen) doesn't want to get hit then don't crowd that plate so much. The inside of the plate belongs to us (the pitcher)." Not only are the Reds up 2-0 in the beaned batters category they are 2-and-0 in the series, beating the Pirates Saturday, 5-4, to take a 5 -game lead in the National League Central.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Chiefs making ‘strong push’ to make Eric Berry highest-paid safety in NFL

Dana White hints at Conor McGregor's next opponent

Report: Steelers make Brown NFL's highest-paid WR

Report: Chiefs sign Duvernay-Tardif to five-year extension

MLB considering introducing 'stickier' baseballs

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Browns have discussed trading No. 12 pick for Garoppolo

Report: Lowry expected to miss 4-5 weeks, return for playoffs

Report: Cowboys to release Romo in coming weeks

Report: Jennings expected to sign with Hornets

Did Hield reveal Kings tampered with him before trade?

Nicklaus says Tiger's current situation is a 'puzzle to me'

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in Major League Baseball

The best sports movies available to stream right now

Biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA season

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

It's time for Satchel Paige Day in MLB

The best sports movies available to stream right now

Biggest surprises and disappointments of the NBA season

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win 20 or more games in a season since 2000

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker