Atlanta’s Beanballs Anything But Brave

Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox watches his team play the Chicago White Sox during the second inning at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago on June 24, 2010. The White Sox won 2-0. The White Sox won 2-0.  UPI/Brian Kersey Photo via Newscom

At this point in the season, I suppose we should be used to the Brewers being hit by pitches — they’re leading the majors in that department, and it isn’t even close.  Sometimes, it’s a result of the Brewers crowding the plate a bit, maybe even leaning into pitches every now and then.  What we’ve seen when the Brewers have played the Braves this year is different, though. 

This isn’t the Brewers using the HBP as part of their offensive game.  It’s the Braves being petty and hotheaded. 

There are just too many examples to ignore the pattern that’s developing:

- On May 10, Ryan Braun was hit on the elbow by Tommy Hanson.  Braun misses a couple games, and some may argue loses his effectiveness for the next couple months as a result.

- Friday night, Braun homers off Hanson. On the next pitch, Hanson drills Prince Fielder.  While Hanson has hit 11 batters this year, the timing seems to be fishy.

- Saturday night, Fielder homers off Tim Hudson to tie the game in the 7th.  When he comes up again in the 8th, Jonny Venters is brought in to face him.  The first pitch from Venters sails over Prince’s head, drawing a warning from Angel Hernandez.  Venters responds by drilling Fielder in the back and is thrown out.

Earlier this season, Eric Hinske told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Cox was “kind of like a mob boss,” saying, “Everybody brings him stuff – chairs, coffee, water. Then he makes the decision. He’s like our own Tony Soprano.”

I can see that analogy.  Like a mob boss, he orders the hits, has someone else take the fall, and then plays dumb when asked about the incident.  Seems fitting, doesn’t it?

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