Monday’s game between the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates included Chicago first baseman Anthony Rizzo sliding into the leg of Pittsburgh catcher Elias Diaz. MLB has since deemed the slide illegal.
Might some retaliation be coming later in the series? When asked, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle merely noted Rizzo’s tendency to get hit by pitches.
Clint Hurdle was asked about retaliation: "The hard part now is the player who had the hard slide is also a player who was hit 30 times 2 yrs ago, 24 times last year. You need to pitch him hard and inside. If you ding him tonight, who knows where it goes."
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) May 29, 2018
Not exactly a hard denial.
Indeed, Rizzo does have a tendency to get hit a lot. He was hit 30 times in 2015, 16 in 2016, 24 in 2017, and has already been hit eight times this year, despite missing time with an injury. We also have to remember that in Hurdle’s tenure with Pittsburgh, the Bucs have consistently ranked at or near the top-of-the-league in regards to hit batsmen.
So, this could just be a perfect storm.
MLB will absolutely be watching these games closely. Expect some sort of action if anything does happen between the two teams, particularly if Rizzo is involved.