Saturday’s Cubs-Diamondbacks game will be known for, perhaps, Yu Darvish’s best game in a Cubs uniform and possibly for the worst benches-clearing confrontation of all time.
Chicago’s David Bote hit two home runs early in the game, which prompted the Diamondbacks to want to drill him for being a good hitter.
Bote was hit in the shoulder with a fastball by pitcher Matt Koch. Bote then seemed to be gesturing toward Koch while taking his base, and Koch responded by raising his palms.
Somehow, that then led to both benches clearing. The dugouts emptied out and the bullpens did the same in the most lackluster way possible.
Plenty of guys have been hit/thrown at tonight. Apparently, this was the last straw. pic.twitter.com/4cs1PIZk4d
— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) April 28, 2019
There wasn’t even demonstrative posturing or heated verbal exchanges between the teams, as it appeared that both clubs entered the field simply to keep up with baseball tradition.
There was certainly no Yasiel Puig in the group; the Reds outfielder tried to challenge the entire Pirates team a couple of weeks ago.
After the game, Bote pretty much said he wasn’t looking for any confrontation and tried to do the exact opposite.
“It’s hard to be not caught up in reaction there,” Bote said. “I thought better of it and tried to de-escalate the situation instead of escalate it. But it’s all good. There’s no hard feelings.”
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo denied that Koch intentionally threw at Bote as revenge for hitting two home runs against his team. “Just because somebody hits two home runs, we do not throw at batters. He deserved to hit two home runs,” Lovullo said. “So, by no means did we throw at him. I don’t believe in that part of the game.”
“That’s the type of hitter Bote is. He’s a young, up-and-coming hitter.”
Arizona catcher John Ryan Murphy admitted afterward that there was no reason for the benches to empty.
“I don’t know exactly what [Bote] yelled,” Murphy said. “But I just saw him throw his bat in anger and yell at [Koch], so my job there is to stop anything from escalating. Unfortunately, it escalated, both dugouts came out, probably didn’t need to happen, but unfortunately, it did.”
As for Darvish, his performance got lost in the shuffle of the unwarranted and unneeded benches-clearing incident.
He had his longest outing of the season with six innings pitched, in which he allowed one earned run. He also struck out eight batters and improved his record to 2-3.
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