White Sox, Royals benches empty after Brad Keller throws at Tim Anderson

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White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson hit a prodigious two-run home run off of Royals starter Brad Keller in the fourth inning of Wednesday afternoon’s game in Chicago. Anderson celebrated by throwing his bat back towards his dugout.

MLB celebrated Anderson’s achievement as such:

Predictably, the next time Anderson stepped to the plate, leading off the bottom of the sixth inning, Keller threw a fastball at him. The benches emptied. Keller and Anderson were ejected, as was White Sox manager Rick Renteria.

10 days ago, Pirates pitcher Chris Archer intentionally threw at Reds infielder Derek Dietrich. I predicted, correctly, that Archer would get a mere five-game suspension, which didn’t even result in a missed start. Archer essentially had his start pushed back one day; he started on April 7 and 13, his team’s eighth and 13th games of the season. Archer was also fined, but hardly enough to outweigh the social incentives for retaliation.

Just as MLB needed to suspend Archer for a much longer period of time, the league needs to make Keller’s fine and suspension count. MLB can’t, at both times, promote “let the kids play,” then do nothing when the “kids” who “play” have baseballs intentionally whipped at their bodies. Based on precedent, however, Keller will receive a five-game suspension and an undisclosed fine, and pitchers will continue to hurl baseballs at batters whenever their feelings get hurt.

Video: Cubs score run on Pirates’ appeal throw

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2019 has been one long nightmare for the Pirates. They’re in last place in the NL Central, have had multiple clubhouse fights, and can’t stop getting into bench-clearing incidents. The embarrassment continued on Sunday as the club lost 16-6 to the Cubs, suffering a three-game series sweep in Chicago.

One of those 16 runs the Pirates allowed was particularly noteworthy. In the bottom of the third inning, with the game tied at 5-5, the Cubs had runners on first and second with two outs. Tony Kemp hit a triple to right field, allowing both Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward to score to make it 7-5. The Pirates thought one of the Cubs’ base runners didn’t touch third base on their way home. Reliever Michael Feliz attempted to make an appeal throw to third base, but it was way too high for Erik González to catch, so Kemp scored easily on the error.

The Pirates lost Friday’s game to the Cubs 17-8 and Saturday’s game 14-1. They were outscored 47-15 in the three-game series. According to Baseball Reference, since 1908, the Pirates never allowed 14+ runs in three consecutive games and only did it two games in a row twice before this series, in 1949 and in 1950. The Cubs scored 14+ in three consecutive games just one other time, in 1930.