Programming Note: Announcing the Story Explorer

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Sometime later today you’re going to notice a minor change to HBT and the other NBC SportsTalk blogs.  At the bottom of each story there will be a little navigation bar we call the Story Explorer.

The idea is that once you’ve finished reading a post you will be able to browse and then — if you’re so inclined — navigate to other posts on the blog without having to go back to the homepage.  Those of you who have used them should recognize that the Story Explorer is rather similar to the mode of navigation used on our iPhone, iPad and Android apps.

The Story Explorer is currently live over on our outdoors blog, From the Lodge.  Click over and check it out. And, while you’re there, feel free to learn where the deer are currently rutting.  The vegans and PETA members among you can just look at this screencap:

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I’ve been messing with this thing for a little while now, and I really like it. I hope you do too.  And, of course, I hope it works.  To that end, please feel free to give us feedback on it once it goes live later today. Let us know if you like it, what, if anything, you’d change about it, if you like the location below the stories and that sort of thing.

Keep calm and carry on.

 

Marlins, Giants get into heated beanball war

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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You may have heard that Giants closer Hunter Strickland broke his hand punching a door in frustration after Monday night’s subpar performance. He’ll miss six to eight weeks as a result. Strickland came in to protect a 4-2 lead but ended up giving up three runs. The tying run was knocked in by Lewis Brinson on a single to right field. Brinson moved to third base on a go-ahead single by Miguel Rojas, which prompted manager Bruce Bochy to take Strickland out of the game.

On his way to the dugout, Strickland started chirping at Brinson. Much like Bryce Harper and Strickland, Brinson and Strickland have a bit of a history. Last Thursday, Brinson handed Strickland a blown save with a sacrifice fly to deep center field. Brinson was happy to help his team tie the game, pumping his fast and saying, “Let’s go” at no one in particular. That rubbed Strickland the wrong way. Everything seems to rub Strickland the wrong way.

During Tuesday night’s game, Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez threw at Brinson with the first pitch, a 92 MPH fastball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher issued warnings to both benches. Manager Don Mattingly came out to argue, suggesting that his team hadn’t done anything wrong so it was unfair to essentially take the inside part of the plate away from his pitchers. On his way back to the dugout, Mattingly could be seen saying, “You’re next” to catcher Buster Posey.

The Giants scored twice in the bottom of the second against Dan Straily to extend their lead to 3-0. Posey came to the plate with a runner on first base and one out. Straily hit Posey with a 91 MPH fastball on the first pitch, prompting ejections of both Straily and Mattingly. Posey was hit on the arm. If the pitch had come in a bit lower and hit Posey on the wrist or hand, Posey might have had to go on the disabled list for a couple months. Or if the pitch had hit Posey a couple of inches higher, in the head, then who knows what would have happened.

Things calmed down from there, thankfully. The two clubs have one more game against each other in San Francisco on Wednesday and that will be the final time they meet this season. If anything further is going to happen — and hopefully, nothing happens — then it will come tomorrow.

Straily will almost certainly be facing a suspension and a fine, as will Mattingly. It’s less clear if Rodriguez and/or Bochy will be reprimanded for throwing at Brinson, even though it was fairly obvious the pitch was intentional. Regardless, the punishments amount to just one missed start for the pitchers, which isn’t nearly enough of a detriment to deter beanball wars.