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Should Pirates Retaliate for Beaning of McCutchen?

Published on August 3, 2012 by in Features


It is an argument that has been had numerous times. Should you retaliate if your opposition drills your best player?

Friday night, Andrew McCutchen faced off against Reds’ closer Aroldis Chapman with two outs in the ninth inning. The game was pretty much already decided at this point. The Reds held a 3-0 lead and were an out away from victory. No one was on base. The game was in the bag.

On the first pitch of the at-bat, Chapman unleashed a 101 mph fastball up and in that drilled McCutchen right in the left shoulder. It was pretty obvious that McCutchen was not very thrilled about it. He stood at home for a bit and slowly took his base. Following the game, McCutchen showed more emotion than I have ever seen him show as you could easily lip-read multiple obscenities directed towards the Reds.

So, James McDonald is starting for the Pirates tomorrow. With Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips both out for the Reds, does J-Mac retaliate against Ryan Ludwick? Maybe Jay Bruce?

One side of the argument says that you have to do this to “protect” your superstar. Another side of that says that the Pirates have to show that other teams can’t “push them around” and should show that they aren’t going to accept being treated like that.

The other side says, “What’s the point?” If McDonald hits Ludwick in the first inning of the next game, one of three things will happen. Ludwick might just put his head down, and take his base without saying a word, thus ending the whole thing as the umpire issues warnings to both benches. Another thing that could happen is that the home plate umpire, who obviously saw what happened the previous day, ejects McDonald on the spot. The third thing, which would be unlikely, is that the Reds take offense to the retaliation and all Hell breaks loose. Scenarios two and three will result in McDonald being ejected and suspended. Scenario one means McDonald just gave up a base runner in what will be a very key series where things hinge on each at-bat.

So what should the Pirates do? I’m torn on it. My heart says retaliate, but my head says to stay calm and beat them on the field, where it matters. It is Andrew McCutchen, so if there is ONE guy you “protect,” it’s him. But at the same time, this series is huge, and the slight risk of having a starting pitcher get bounced in the first inning of a game doesn’t sit well with me. I’m leaning towards going with my head. For now.

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12 Comments  comments 
  • Jpp

    If buccos have a lead, the hammer should bean someone in the 9th.  that would be strategic retaliation. 

  • Jeremy Miller

    Hitting someone doesn’t mean you lose the game. If McDonald gets tossed/suspended, it doesn’t mean you lose the game, or even the game that someone else has to throw in his place the next time through. The thing is, pride is important to athletes. Their confidence directly impacts their performance. The chemistry of a team, likewise, directly impacts its performance. These things matter. It’s not just bravado. It has an effect.

  • james

    the bucs have to pick their spot just as chapman did.  but the answer is a definite yes. they can’t take that shit laying down.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bill.gantzer Bill Gantzer

      typical pirates fan. Been down so long they’ve forgotten what it is like to be in pennant race. You lose your starter early in the game with an ejection and possible suspension it screws up you bullpen where some of them won’t be available the sunday afternoon game.  It could screw up your rotation with a suspension.  Oh well, when you are not used to being in the race; one game might just be that important to you.

  • Reds21

    I’m a reds fan through n through.. Not saying it was on purpose or not..I wasn’t in the dugout and I’m not a mind reader..but if I’m Clint Hurdle..I beam Ludwick or Bruce their first at bat lol..that’s the rules

  • http://twitter.com/BuccoMike Mike

    Mcdonald has had trouble throwing strikes over his last 6 starts and those have got hammer into the night if he gets ejected early for beaning someone you do have correia.

  • hobblin_manny

    Yeah, gotta plunk somebody but pick your spot carefully. J-Mac really needs to concentrate on getting back to form. At least we still have Correia in case things get ugly at the start and J-Mac gets tossed.

  • http://twitter.com/jonstapel Jon

    I wait until the next series against them and make Votto’s knee a target.

  • RayKe

    Bucco fans are a bunch of trash for even insinuating that Chapman hit McCutchen purposefully.  Chapman throws 100 mph. Don’t you think on occassion, a pitch sails out of control?  If you even have a bit of class, you let it go.

  • opie

    pick the right time,  like when up 3-0 late in game.  BTW, didn’t see much control difficulty from Chapman before or after

  • Tee

    Wait until later in the game and take out a knee. Mr. Miller is right, team chemistry and unity has a huge effect on how they play. Also, I agree, he didn’t have “control issues” any other time or when anyone else was at bat…

  • fanothegame

    if u want to protect your player and rotation..warm up 2 starters… the first starter is the guy who pitched the last gameor some other sacrificial lamb and have him in for one pitch…..that should hit the batter. if he is not thrown out take him out and replace him with your second “starting pitcher”. Matter settled and no harm done. Make sure you DONT throw at anybodys head , no place for that at anytime.