Cubs manager Joe Maddon was ejected from Thursday’s game between Chicago and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Fans have come to expect fireworks on July 4, but even they got more than they bargained for when Maddon absolutely snapped in the fourth inning of what was getting to a pretty testy showdown.
Maddon was set off by what he perceived to be Pittsburgh starter Jordan Lyles throwing up and in to Chicago hitters. The Cubs manager had been keeping a close eye on the proceedings and was following Lyles location all game. Finally, with Javier Baez up, everything popped off.
Baez, Chicago’s short stop, appeared to tweak his knee attempting to move out of the way of a high-and-tight pitch. Then, with the count at 3-2, Lyles went back to the same location and the ball ended up bouncing off Baez’s bat for a foul.
Interestingly enough, Maddon’s criticism was not entirely unwarranted. In the fifth inning, when David Bote went up to bat, he was in fact hit by a pitch. So the Cubs’ manager clearly had reason enough to be a little concerned about what was transpiring in front of him.
All of that being said, it is also important to note that Baez and his teammates do have a bit of a reputation for crowding the plate. So while you can never really excuse away players getting hit or having to dodge pitches, it does sort of come with the territory when you decide to crowd the plate.
Maddon ultimately had to be restrained when he tried to confront Pittsburgh manager, Clint Hurdle.
“It was getting way too out of control, culminating in David getting hit in the head,” Maddon said after the game. “I have no issues with pitching inside. I’m an advocate. But when you get that many pitches, not just that tonight, but it’s been like that somewhat during the entire series. They have their pitching philosophy, and I appreciate inside, but I don’t appreciate up and in.
“They just need to be careful.”
On the bright side, the Cubs ultimately ended up winning their showdown with the Pirates 11-3. In fact, they scored seven unanswered runs after the fireworks erupted.
Coming into the game, Chicago had lost seven of their last nine games and were aiming to prevent their first four game sweet at the hands of the Pirates in nearly half a century.
Entering Thursday, the Cubs were half a game out of the NL central lead.
If Chicago is looking to take it to the Pirates even further, Pittsburgh comes in to Wrigley field a week from Friday.