David Ortiz and Kevin Gregg sparked a benches-clearing brawl Friday night with the Red Sox spanking the Orioles for the second night in a row.
The Orioles called on their seldom-used closer down 9-3 in the bottom of the eighth. After giving up a walk and an RBI triple to Josh Reddick, Gregg threw three straight inside fastballs to Ortiz. The first and third both had Ortiz jumping out of the way. Ortiz stared out after the first one and then took a couple of steps towards the mound following the third, causing the dugouts and benches to clear.
No punches were exchanged during the initial incident. After the players returned to their positions, dugouts and bullpens, warnings were issued.
Gregg next threw a fastball over the plate that Ortiz popped up to shallow right for the second out of the inning. Immediately as Ortiz popped up, Gregg started yelling at him to run it out. Home plate umpire Mike Estabrook deserves credit for immediately tossing Gregg for the jawing, but Ortiz decided to charge the mound anyway and got off a couple of wild punches that failed to connect.
All in all, no real damage seemed to be done. But now the Red Sox will likely have to do without Ortiz for five or six games. Other players likely will face suspensions, too. Gregg seems likely to miss a few games, and Red Sox hurlers John Lackey and Jonathan Papelbon were both involved in the scrum.
10:15 p.m. EDT: Orioles reliever Jim Johnson and Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, neither of whom were in the game, joined Ortiz and Gregg in being ejected.
10:20 p.m. EDT: As it turned out, Ortiz flew into a double play. Reddick, who tripled prior to Ortiz’s at-bat, abandoned third base in order to take part in the fight and was called out, ending the eighth inning after a lengthy delay and several conversation between the umpires and managers Terry Francona and Buck Showalter.
10:25 p.m. EDT: The ninth proved to be uneventful, with Scott Atchison pitching a scoreless frame to end the game at 10-3.
The Phillies’ bullpen led to yet another loss on Tuesday. Severino Gonzalez, Luis Garcia, Joely Rodriguez, and David Hernandez combined to allow six runs in five innings, allowing the Braves to come back and win 7-6 after falling behind 6-0 after the first two innings.
The game prior, the Phillies’ bullpen surrendered 14 runs in four innings in a 17-0 loss to the Mets. The game before that, the bullpen yielded four runs in four innings, nearly squandering the Phillies’ 10-0 lead after four innings. And last Thursday, the Phillies had taken an 8-6 lead in the top of the 11th, but Edubray Ramos served up a walk-off three-run home run to Asdrubal Cabrera. It’s been a tough month.
Manager Pete Mackanin ripped the bullpen when speaking to the media after Tuesday’s game. Via Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly:
Neris was going to close for us. I thought about using him with two outs in the eighth. But, at some point, somebody else has to do a (bleeping) job. Somebody else has to (bleeping) step up. In two games now, every reliever I brought in has given up a (bleeping) run. That’s unheard of.
The Phillies currently own the fourth-worst bullpen ERA in baseball at 4.97. Only the Rockies (5.12), Reds (5.07), and Diamondbacks (4.98) have been worse.
In fairness to the bullpen, aside from Jeanmar Gomez (who lost his job as closer earlier this month) and free agent signee David Hernandez, the bullpen is intentionally comprised of young, inexperienced pitchers as the Phillies are still rebuilding. If the Phillies were aiming for a playoff spot, it would be one thing, but the struggles are to be expected when one throws 24-year-olds into the deep end.
Manager Robin Ventura’s contract with the White Sox expires after the season, but the club will offer him a new contract if he wants to stay in Chicago, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports.
Ventura’s five seasons at the helm of the White Sox haven’t gone well. The club has crossed the 80-win threshold only once, in his first season back in 2012. Entering the final five games of the season, Ventura has a 373-432 record (463) overall.
The White Sox have also had a handful of controversies under Ventura’s watch, including the fiasco concerning Adam LaRoche and his son Drake, as well as Chris Sale‘s displeasure with wearing retro uniforms. Ventura is not exactly a fan favorite, either. It’s interesting that the White Sox want to keep him around, to say the least.