Benches clear between Cubs, Pirates after Joe Musgrove slides into Javier Báez

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Things have been tense during this series in Pittsburgh between the Cubs and Pirates. Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo took a lot of heat after he made a controversial slide into catcher Elias Diaz at home plate. The umpires ruled that Rizzo’s slide was clean, but the next day, Major League Baseball said that the slide was not, in fact, legal.

Tuesday’s game was uneventful, even though there were some hit batters. Nick Kingham hit Willson Contreras, Jon Lester hit Kingham, and Michael Feliz hit Contreras. There didn’t seem to be any malice behind any of those hit batters.

The two sides got feisty on Wednesday. In the bottom of the third inning, starter Joe Musgrove stood on first base after hitting a leadoff single. Josh Harrison then hit a grounder to third baseman Kris Bryant, who fired to Javier Báez at second base. Musgrove slid into second base and his momentum took him into Báez, who held onto the ball. Given Harrison’s speed, Báez almost certainly wouldn’t have been able to make the throw in time to complete the double play, but the slide made it impossible.

As Musgrove walked off the field, Báez had a few words for him. Musgrove turned back and then the benches and bullpens emptied onto the field. No punches were thrown and order was quickly restored. Musgrove’s slide was deemed legal.

Wednesday marks the end of the series between the two clubs, but they meet again for a three-game set in Chicago June 8-10. It will be interesting to see if the bad blood carries over a week and a half.

Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife gives birth

Zack Wheeler miss starts
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Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.

Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”

Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.

The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.