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Players respond to President Trump’s tweet criticizing Dave Roberts

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Last night, President Trump tweeted his thoughts on Dodgers manager Dave Roberts’ bullpen strategy. Starter Rich Hill had tossed six shutout innings, but issued a leadoff walk to Xander Bogaerts in the seventh. After striking out Eduardo Núñez, Roberts elected to swap Hill for fellow lefty Scott Alexander, who walked Brock Holt on four pitches. He then brought in Ryan Madson, who has struggled in the World Series thus far. Madson was able to get Jackie Bradley, Jr. to pop out, but then served up a three-run home run to Mitch Moreland that put the Red Sox back in the game. The Red Sox would to on to tie the game in the eighth, then hung a five-spot in the ninth en route to a 9-6 victory.

Trump tweeted:

Watching the Dodgers/Red Sox final innings. It is amazing how a manager takes out a pitcher who is loose & dominating through almost 7 innings, Rich Hill of Dodgers, and brings in nervous reliever(s) who get shellacked. 4 run lead gone. Managers do it all the time, big mistake!

During the postgame press conference, Roberts was asked to respond to the tweet. To his credit, Roberts was level-headed about the criticism. Roberts said, “The President said that? I’m happy he was tuning in and watching the game. I don’t know how many Dodger games he’s watched. I don’t think he was privy to the conversation. That’s one man’s opinion.”

Roberts wasn’t the only one to respond to Trump’s tweet. Via Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, Hill said, “There was a mass shooting yesterday … The focus, in my opinion, of the president is to be on the country, and not on moves that are made in a World Series game.”

Astros third baseman Alex Bregman tweeted a few crying laughter emojis followed by, “I’m crying …. don’t get mad at me for commenting y’all… this is a sports related tweet….” Then, responding to someone who suggested that Trump’s tweet isn’t out of character for a President, Bregman said, “I’m just saying it’s funny how we are told to stick to playing sports… It’s very hypocritical when he’s telling Roberts how to manage…especially when a mass shooting just happened earlier that day…”

Phillies-Mets could get contentious tonight

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As the Mets were wrapping up a 9-0 shellacking of the Phillies on Tuesday night, reliever Jacob Rhame threw a pitch up and in to first baseman Rhys Hoskins with two outs in the ninth inning. The pitch sailed behind Hoskins’ back. The slugger wasn’t happy about the scare, understandably. Players began to trickle out of their respective dugouts, but a fracas was avoided.

Hoskins was skeptical that Rhame simply missed his spot. Per MLB.com’s Thomas Harrigan, Hoskins said, “He didn’t miss up and in the rest of the inning, so I’ll let you decide. I would assume teams are pitching me in because that’s where they think they can get me out, and that’s fine. That’s part of the game. Again, I think most guys are capable of pitching inside and not missing that bad.”

Teammate Bryce Harper said, “I don’t get it. I understand that two of their guys got hit yesterday. But, I mean, if it’s baseball and you’re going to drill somebody, at least hit him in the [butt]. Not in the head. You throw 98, it’s scary now. You could kill somebody. Lose your eyesight. That’s bigger than the game.”

Indeed, two Mets were hit by pitches on Monday night. José Álvarez hit Jeff McNeil in the seventh inning, which advanced a base runner. In the very next at-bat, Juan Nicasio hit Pete Alonso with a first-pitch fastball. It was obvious neither was intentional as the Phillies were only down two runs and hitting both batters advanced base runners and led to runs scoring. It is less obvious that Rhame’s pitch to Hoskins was unintentional, but he showed empathy in his post-game comments. Rhame said, “When you accidentally sail one, it’s probably pretty scary. I’d get [angry], too.”

Will Wednesday night’s series finale be contentious? Despite being “fairly upset,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said, “We do not retaliate, and we do not throw at anybody intentionally,” Jake Seiner of the Associated Press reports.

Mets manager Mickey Calloway didn’t give as straight an answer. Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, Calloway said, “I think at this point, you just go out there and beat people, and win. … For now, I don’t feel like anything has been intentional at us that has warranted anything from our side.” If that changes, however, Calloway said, “They’re going to have each other’s backs.”

Hopefully, neither side decides to take justice into their own hands. But, welcome to the NL East in 2019. The Mets lead the Phillies by one game, and the Braves and Nationals by 1.5 games. It’s going to be a knock-down, drag-out division fight all year long.