remained a major storyline among the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals prior to Game 4, but it appears cooler heads may have prevailed.Noah Syndergaard’s first pitch in Game 3
Syndergaard’s “high and tight” purpose pitch against Alcides Escobar may have caused some issues during the game, but the real firestorm began following postgame interviews. The Royals were unhappy with Syndergaard throwing near Escobar’s head. Syndergaard responded by saying the Royals could “meet [him] 60 feet, 6 inches away” if they were upset.
Though both teams had some time to think about their comments prior to Saturday’s game, it was clear Syndergaard’s pitch was still a significant issue to both sides.
Manager Ned Yost said the team wasn’t surprised Syndergaard chose to switch things up on the mound, but were shocked he would “throw it under [Escobar’s] chin.” Yost echoed Syndergaard’s warning from earlier in the series, saying “we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves, too. Let’s go with that.” When asked whether those tricks included the Royals throwing at a Mets hitter, Yost replied “no.”
Shortstop Alcides Escobar was still upset about the situation, saying Syndergaard’s comments were “stupid.” Just two hours before the game, Escobar said the Royals would answer back.
It’s important to note that Escobar stressed he didn’t want to incite a fight.
As expected, Manager Terry Collins has his pitcher’s back. Collins said he was fine with Syndergaard’s comments following Game 3 because the pitcher “backed it up.”
Collins also expressed that he believes pitching inside draws a different reaction today as opposed to 20 years ago.
Pitching inside is a lost art anymore. Very few guys do it effectively. I mean, a lot of guys try to. But the one thing obviously with all of the changes in the game, you’re seeing less and less guys take a huge offense to it, because you’ll miss time. But I still think it’s got to be part of the game. That’s exactly how they’re pitching David, they’re pitching him in hard, and pitching Murphy in hard. So it is part of it. It’s always a little scary when it’s up near the head area.
Again, our game is not perfect and the people that play it aren’t perfect. And you can’t make every pitch exactly where you want it or the game would be easy for most people. But I think pitching inside is a huge part of our game, and just a lot of guys don’t like to do it.
Even MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre got involved, saying he wasn’t sure whether Syndergaard would be suspended for his actions.
With all of that out there, eyes were glued to the first inning of Game 4 to see whether either team would retaliate. They did not.
Starter Steven Matz did not buzz Escobar with a pitch to begin the contest. Instead, he dropped in a perfect 78 mph curveball. Once Matz set down the Royals in order, Chris Young took the mound and did not appear to be out for revenge.
Retribution may not come for either side during the contest. Through three innings, neither team has done anything to escalate the situation.
There’s still plenty of baseball to be played, both in Game 4 and in the series. But it appears the issue of Syndergaard’s first pitch may already be over. The best retaliation would be winning this contest, and eventually the series, and it appears that’s what both team are focused on now.
Frankly, that’s good to see. There’s no reason for a beanball war to take over baseball’s biggest event. These games should be about the Royals relentless offense, or the Mets extremely talented young pitchers. It looks like those are the things we’ll be talking about tomorrow, not some dumb attempt at retribution.
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