Note of the night/Stat of the day, April 24
Note of the night: It appeared as though we might get a few extracurriculars on Sunday night, but they never materialized. And according to the interested parties, they weren’t as close as perhaps it seemed from the press box or the stands.
When Yadier Molina went deep in the sixth inning, he celebrated with some… vigor. He raised an arm in the air, and he hustled around the bases in a manner that couldn’t help recalling Brandon Phillips’ spring around the bases two nights earlier.
Cardinals fans were delighted, Reds fans were chagrined, and I tweeted at the time that perhaps Molina might ought to hope that he didn’t hit again — the implication being that the celebration might garner him a fastball in the ear.
So, what do you know, but two innings later, Molina faced Aroldis Chapman. And the first pitch from Chapman sailed well in on Molina. Warnings were issued, and anybody with a sense of the recent history between these two clubs couldn’t help drawing some conclusions.
Except… those conclusions may have been wrong. Molina, for one, said he saw no ill intent in Chapman’s pitch.
“I don’t think so,” he said when I asked him about it. “I don’t think so. I don’t know. I don’t think they did [try to hit me]. But if he did do, I don’t care. We got the win.”
TLR didn’t really have much to say about the warnings, though he seemed to imply that they weren’t really shocking to him.
“[Umpire] John Hirschbeck knows what he sees,” the manager said. “This guy is as veteran as anybody umpiring. … The catcher moved in and he threw the ball inside. You can’t read minds. But he had probably the best view for it, and that’s what he called.”
At least one person on the Reds side said they didn’t really take any umbrage over Molina’s celebration, though. And besides, they pretty clearly thought they still had a chance to win the game — loading the bases on a hit-batter would be kind of silly if you were still trying to win. If they thought that game was out of hand, the pitcher likely would have been someone other than Aroldis Chapman.
Is it POSSIBLE that the pitch from Chapman was a purpose pitch? Sure, it’s possible. But based on people I talked to on the Cardinals side, based on people my colleague Mark Sheldon talked to on the Reds side, and based on taking a longer look at the whole situation, my inclination is that it was not.
Stat of the day: Right-handed hitters are 3-for-27 against Mitchell Boggs this year with one double, one walk and 11 strikeouts. That’s a .111/.172/.148 line on the year.