Wednesday Takeaway

What makes for a more exciting daily recap than a bench-clearing brawl? Just think about it for now, don’t answer yet. It’ll come up later, I promise.

The San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies are already playing their second series of this young season, they’ll see a lot more of each other before the campaign is complete, and their shared beef is already piling onto the grill at an alarming rate.

A season ago, the teams combined to hit each other’s batters nine total times—six Rockies and three Padres. A week ago, Padres third baseman Christian Villanueva hit three home runs in a game against the Rockies—and was hit with a pitch later on in the series. Tuesday night, San Diego CF Manuel Margot took a pitch to the ribs—yesterday, he hit the 10-day DL in response.

In the bottom of the first inning yesterday, Padres’ pitcher Luis Perdomo hit Trevor Story. A half-inning later his counterpart, Antonio Senzatela, came inside and caught Hunter Renfroe on the wrist. In the bottom of the third, Perdomo faced Nolan Arenado at the plate:

Let’s watch it once more, this time in (imaginary) slow motion, and then break this bad boy down, piece by piece.

• Perdomo, of course, comes off looking about as badly as possible. Not only did he fail in his attempt to hit Arenado with a baseball, he also failed in his attempt to wound a charging Arenado with his glove. Devoid of any further projectiles with which to deter the enraged batter, Perdomo backpedaled so hard that he looked like he was in a silent movie. The initial pitch was certainly intended to hit Arenado, and Perdomo should be in line for a suspension, giving him plenty of time to strategize how he’ll look like less of a weenie the next time this happens.

• Arenado will, too, likely catch a suspension for reacting exactly as anyone else alive would to a pitch thrown behind his back. You charge the mound, you’re gonna go on an involuntary vacation—that’s not negotiable. Unfortunately for Arenado, he didn’t even manage to catch Perdomo, who was in full-on self-preservation mode and probably would’ve used a fan as a human shield if it came to that.

• The unsung hero of this sequence is undoubtedly Padres’ SS Freddy Galvis. As Perdomo throws his glove at Arenado, Galvis notices and removes his own glove, looking around for someone who needs a faceful. Eventually he managed to insert himself into the fracas to successfully spike his glove into somebody’s face. Now THAT is a teammate. He saw his pitcher weaponize the glove and thought, “This looks dumb and ineffective but I GOT YOUR BACK BRO!”

Have you been thinking about what could possibly top a bench-clearing brawl? How about two bench-clearing brawls?!

The Yankees and Red Sox played later, and they too saw play interrupted by the emptying of both benches. The first incident of the game occurred in the top of the third inning: New York DH Tyler Austin slid hard into Brock Holt at second, and the two exchanged words. Suddenly, both benches and bullpens were storming the field:

Austin’s slide was hard, I’ll grant that. But the benches emptying seemed unnecessary, at least for the moment. That changed in the seventh inning, when Austin came up to face flamethrower Joe Kelly:

Again, let’s go to the CompuBox numbers and break this one down for the viewers.

• Austin sets expectations high with his pre-fight posturing. The violent slam of the bat to the ground, the perfectly-timed helmet removal… it’s all a veteran-quality setup to a laying of the smack down on the pitcher who just nailed you at 98 mph. Unfortunately for Austin, he channeled his inner Deion Sanders when trying to wrap up and tackle Kelly, who landed several body shots as Austin fell forward. He recovered nicely to stretch this into a true brawl, which will prevent this from making any mound-charging lowlight reels, so he’s got that going for him.

• If Luis Perdomo taught us all how to handle a mound-charging like a giant hunk of poultry, Joe Kelly showed us all how to take it like a professional. You probably won’t even notice on the first few watchings, but Kelly does not react at all when Austin slams the bat on the ground. Then, as Austin is walking out slowly, Kelly takes a wide stance and makes the “well come here” motion with his right hand. This is where Austin loses control and charges the mound—and Kelly backs up a couple of steps—not a dozen—before collapsing onto the imbalanced Austin and pounding him with body shots.

Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton continued the centuries-old tradition of the biggest dudes in the crowd just naturally sliding into the role of bouncer.

We should be this blessed every single day.

Quick Hits

• Daytime baseball delivered the goods yesterday in all of the best non-pugilistic ways, too. The Twins and Astros were just one pitch from extra innings when Max Kepler decided to just skip that whole ordeal:

• Through two weeks, the only MLB team to win ten games is the New York Mets. Just as we all predicted. Zack Wheeler spun a gem Wednesday night, tossing seven innings of two-hit ball and striking out seven to get the win. Wheeler’s counterpart, Jarlin Garcia, was pulled after 77 pitches thrown and six no-hit innings, and he would watch his bullpen blow the 1-0 lead with which he left.

David Price surrendered three hits, two walks, and four earned runs during the first inning of Wednesday’s game against the Yankees. He did not return for a second inning of work.

• The Renaissance of Stealing Home continued to pick up momentum, as Atlanta’s Ender Inciarte very nearly swiped the plate to take the lead in the tenth inning of yesterday’s game:

Kurt Suzuki led off the next inning with a solo home run—but, really, he shouldn’t have even gotten the chance. Inciarte made that way closer than it had any right to be.


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Jay Stevens
Looks like that's the wrong video for the Kepler homer -- that one's against the Red Sox...
John Collins
I don't really get the sneers at Perdomo while Arenado gets the love. Looks like the Pods were wronged, Perdomo tried to settle it, and twice the Rockies kept it going. (Not a Padres fan, nor a fan of retaliation.)
David Bowers
Tyler Austin is a classic cheap shot player. You watch how his foot moves towards the leg as he sees he is hopelessly out. He is losing his composure as he completes his slide - he is the type of kid we used to taunt and laugh at as he "lost it" on the diamond. And, befitting to his slide, he melts down instead of taking his medicine. Notice that Joe Kelly is signaling, "Come and get it whiny boy" - he knows exactly what kind of player Austin is. Bottomline, if you're going to play that style of game, you better be able to take your medicine. I wonder if Ty Cobb ever charged the mound?