MLB: Tensions figure to remain high as Mets battle Phillies
A benches-clearing incident Wednesday afternoon with the St. Louis Cardinals finally gave the New York Mets some closure and payback following a spate of early season beanings.
Still, the intrigue might return Friday night, when the Philadelphia Phillies — an opponent with whom the Mets share plenty of recent and historic volatility — visit New York for the opener of a three-game series.
Tylor Megill (3-0, 2.35 ERA) is slated to take the mound for the Mets against Aaron Nola (1-2, 3.74 ERA) in a battle of right-handers.
The Mets were off Thursday after an eventful 10-5 loss to the host Cardinals on Wednesday. The Phillies completed a four-game sweep of the visiting Colorado Rockies with a 7-1 win Thursday afternoon.
The loss cost the Mets — who have won their first six series for the first time in franchise history — a chance at their first sweep of the year, but the defeat was overshadowed by New York’s frustrations overflowing.
With one out in the top of the eighth inning, Cardinals left-hander Genesis Cabrera hit J.D. Davis in the left ankle with an off-speed pitch. It marked the fifth time a Mets batter was hit by a pitch in the three-game series and the 19th time this season a New York player has been hit. No other team has been hit more than 14 times.
The sight of Davis needing assistance to get off the field — X-rays were negative but he left Busch Stadium in a walking boot — further infuriated the Mets, who were fewer than 24 hours removed from watching first baseman Pete Alonso get hit in the helmet by a changeup from Kodi Whitley.
Mets right-hander Yoan Lopez’s first pitch in the bottom of the eighth — a 94 mph fastball — sailed up and in on Cardinals superstar third baseman Nolan Arenado, who initially seemed to give Lopez an understanding nod before he started yelling about how the purpose pitch should have been lower.
Benches emptied and no real punches were thrown, though Alonso was grabbed and tossed to the ground by Cabrera and Cardinals first base coach Stubby Clapp.
“Getting domed up isn’t fun — it’s obviously not safe, it’s dangerous,” Alonso said. “There’s consequences, whether it’s on purpose or not. We’re going to stand up for ourselves.”
Major League Baseball meted out punishments relating to the Wednesday incident on Thursday, suspending Arenado for two games, suspending Cabrera for one game and fining Lopez, Mets pitcher Taijuan Walker and Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty. Arenado appealed his suspension.
In a statistical coincidence sure to be brought to the attention of this weekend’s umpiring crew, the Phillies have hit 15 batters, tied for the most in the majors with the Washington Nationals.
The Phillies and Mets have also engaged in plenty of donnybrooks over the years. The YouTube clip of their brawl on Aug. 9, 1990 — when New York star right-hander Dwight Gooden charged the mound after being beaned by Pat Combs — has been viewed more than 400,000 times.
On April 23, 2019, Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins took exception to being buzzed twice by Jacob Rhame. The next night, Hoskins homered off Rhame — and took 34 seconds to round the bases.
On July 6, 2019, Philadelphia’s Jake Arrieta plunked Todd Frazier and Amed Rosario during New York’s decisive three-run fifth-inning outburst. Frazier jawed at Arrieta, who said afterward that if “Frazier’s not happy about it, he can come see me and I’ll put a dent in his skull.”
Phillies manager Joe Girardi and current Mets pitcher Max Scherzer stared down one another and exchanged heated words last June 22, when Girardi repeatedly asked for Scherzer — then pitching for the Nationals — to be checked for foreign substances.
Following Philadelphia’s Thursday win, Hoskins said the Phillies were looking forward to facing the Mets, whose 14-6 record is tops in baseball.
“What more can we ask for? We get to face the best,” Hoskins said. “I know they’re one of the best in the league. It’ll be great to get after these guys.”
–Field Level Media