There’s been much speculation ahead of Wednesday night’s rubber match between the Yankees and Rays following Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash essentially challenging the Yankees to a schoolyard tussle following the Bombers’ heated, 5-3 win Tuesday night in the Bronx.
What transpired Tuesday night resulted in a three game suspension for Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman and one game suspensions for Yankees manager Aaron Boone along with Cash in efforts by the MLB to deescalate the situation.
So, what transpired Tuesday night?
The blood boiled over in this recently rejuvenated rivalry after Chapman buzzed a brushback 101 miles per hour fastball near the lid of pinch hitting Mike Brosseau in the ninth inning, causing the umpires to issue warnings to both dugouts.
Those warned benches cleared following Brosseau’s game ending strikeout from Chapman, but nothing more than some shouting arose on the field Tuesday.
What appeared to be a one-time-conflict was put in question when Cash threatened that he has “a whole damn stable of pitchers that throw 98 miles per hour,’’ after the game on Tuesday night.
To backtrack, that standoff on the third base line was one of many recent incidents of questionable intent pitching between the Yankees and Rays – a point reiterated by an unknown player who audibly yelled while the benches were clear, saying that the Rays were throwing at the Yanks heads on Monday.
“I get it, they don’t like being thrown up and in, but enough’s enough,” Cash added in his heated postgame comments, also criticizing “chirping” from the Yankees dugout and that Masahiro Tanaka hit second baseman Joey Wendle early into the game.
“Other than three years ago there hasn’t been one pitch thrown with intent from any of our guys,” the manager said, referring to Rays pitcher Andrew Kittredge throwing at the Yankees Austin Romine in 2017, which Boone said “kind of got glossed over.”
Cash’s commentary was also inadvertently an admission that his pitcher was out to injure a Yankee around the time both teams started taking recent exception to one another.
On the other side of the field, the Chapman-Brosseau incident was greatly downplayed by much of the Yankees, aside from second baseman DJ LeMahieu saying on Tuesday that it “sounds like they’re going to try to throw at us tomorrow.”
“We’ll be ready,” the second baseman added.
Boone cited on Wednesday that LeMahieu has “been thrown up in the head about seven times in six games,” also disagreeing with the suspensions put in place ahead of the upcoming game.
The manager chose to take the high road towards much of Cash’s commentary, including comments about poor coaching.
“Am I going to take offense to someone popping off in the heat of the moment? No chance,” Boone said.
“Hopefully this is something that can all be behind us and it can be about two good teams going at it on the field,” he added.
Meanwhile Chapman called the three game suspension harsh and said he plans on appealing it to the league on Wednesday.
“I can tell you right now that I have no intention on hitting anyone,” Chapman said through a translator.
Yankees eighth inning reliever Zack Britton defended Chapman after the game, saying “what was this, Chappy’s third inning? He’s working through some rust. He didn’t have much of a buildup at all. He’s still not as sharp as he’s going to be,” saying that it was just high flying emotions between “two competitive teams trying to win a division.”
“It’s not the first time between us…what they decide to do is on them and we’ll see how it transpires,” Britton said.