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August 4, 2014

What You Need to Know

August 4, 2014

by Daniel Rathman


The Weekend Takeaway
In Friday’s opener between the Pirates and Diamondbacks, Ernesto Frieri had an 0-1 fastball get away. It rode in and drilled Paul Goldschmidt:

Unfortunately, the 93 mph heater caught more than flesh. Goldschmidt suffered a fractured left hand that will sideline him for at least a month and possibly close to two. In the latter case, he’d miss nearly the remainder of a regular season in which the Diamondbacks have scarcely caught a break. Goldschmidt’s plunking wasn’t intentional, but with frustrations mounting, the D’backs were bound to retaliate given appropriate circumstances.

Saturday’s middle match proceeded without that sort of hitch until the ninth inning, when the Pirates, already leading 5-1, had runners at second and third with one out. Their star, Andrew McCutchen, was in the box. And after Randall Delgado misfired with a fastball and then a slider, the count was 2-0.

That’s not a fun scenario in which to face one of the league’s most dangerous hitters, though with first base open, Delgado had the option of giving McCutchen an intentional free pass. He did, kind of:

Instead of tossing two soft ones outside, Delgado went with a hard one way inside, planting it right between the 2s on McCutchen’s back. It sent McCutchen to the deck and Delgado to the showers, as home-plate umpire Ron Kulpa didn’t hesitate to give him the heave-ho. Manager Kirk Gibson was already long gone by then, ejected for arguing a replay review in the second inning, so he wasn’t around to be tossed for (likely) ordering the beanball.

In McCutchen’s view, the desire to retaliate might have been understandable. But he took exception with Delgado’s decision to do so on the third pitch, when there was no reason for the batter to anticipate it:

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