Dodgers win epic Scott Van Slyke-Joe Kelly standoff prior to Game 6

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Taking the grandstanding to a whole new level, neither Cardinals starting pitcher Joe Kelly nor Dodgers reserve outfielder Scott Van Slyke chose to return to the dugout after the national anthem prior to Friday’s Game 6. What followed was a 12-minute staring contest across the field that was only finally broken up when the home-plate umpire needed to start the game.

Van Slyke seemed to take the actual staring part the more serious of the two, whereas a sheepish Kelly was laughing and giggling through the end of it. It was Kelly who finally gave up his position first before umpire Greg Gibson had to start the night off with a couple of ejections. On one hand, that would have hurt the Dodgers more than the Cardinals; Kelly just started Game 5 and isn’t any sort of candidate to pitch tonight. Van Slyke, though, might not have missed much, either; he’s made just two appearances in the postseason and has yet to get an at-bat.

Obviously, the whole incident was lighthearted, both dugouts (probably the Dodgers’ more so) were clearly getting a kick out of it. While the media is positioning the old school Cardinals versus the Hollywood/Disneyland Dodgers, it seems like both teams might have a sense of humor after all. Who knew?

Marlins, Giants get into heated beanball war

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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.