Matt Garza ejected after hitting Andrew McCutchen a second time

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One of the features that has made Matt Garza a consistently reliable starting pitcher year in and year out has been his control. Since becoming a regular starter in 2008, he has only once walked batters at a rate higher than 7.6 percent. Depending on the year, that’s average to slightly above-average control. Garza also doesn’t hit many batters: he entered tonight having hit two batters all season and has hit more than seven in only one season in his nine-year career.

It was odd but permissible when Garza hit McCutchen with a pitch in the third inning. It was hard to give Garza the same benefit of the doubt in the fifth inning, when he hit McCutchen again and was ejected, along with manager Ron Roenicke. Both benches were also warned. Garza seemed visibly upset at himself, punching his glove in frustration, but it’s hard to imagine a guy with his experience and control could accidentally double his season total in HBP’s in one outing.

Marco Estrada took the mound in Garza’s stead. Garza finished with 4 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out six.

This is not the first time McCutchen has been at the center of a beanball war. Diamondbacks pitcher Randall Delgado fired a fastball at McCutchen’s back on August 2, which was revenge for Pirates reliever Ernesto Frieri hitting Paul Goldschmidt and breaking his finger the previous day.

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.