Brewers Start Stooping Down to Braves’, Bucs’ Level

May 5, 2010; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Milwaukee Brewers reliever Todd Coffey (60) pitches during the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Photo via Newscom

The Brewers won Thursday night, finishing their 8-game road trip at 4-4.  Usually, that would be considered a pretty stellar trip, especially considering the first leg featured four games on the road against the best team in the National League.  Considering the way the trip ended, though, it boils down to a pretty frustrating trip.

That frustration boiled over last night — in multiple ways.

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Rickie Weeks was once again hit by a pitch, this time by Ross Ohlendorf on a pitch that drilled Weeks on the triceps as he turned away.  Was it intentional?  That’s probably up for debate, but Bill Schroeder seemed to think it was, saying something to the effect of it’s hard for a major league pitcher to miss his spot and have the ball end up where it did.

Whether the Brewers thought it was intentional, or they just wanted to send a message that they’re getting tired of getting drilled in every game, Todd Coffey retaliated in the 7th inning, hitting Jose Tabata intentionally with two outs in a 3-0 game.

By now, you all probably know how I feel about getting into beanball wars.  It’s juvenile, stupid, and generally shows short-sightedness.  Instead of trying to get the third out of the inning and preserve the 3-0 lead, Coffey intentionally put a runner on base.  Delwyn Young singled to right in the next at-bat, sending Tabata to third.

That intentional hit batter resulted in the tying run coming to the plate in the last three innings of the game.  Thankfully, Neil Walker “only” doubled in Tabata in Young, instead of tying the game with a home run, and Chris Capuano came in to finish the inning with the lead intact. 

Just because the Brewers escaped the inning with the lead — and ultimately got the win — doesn’t mean Coffey was justified in hitting Tabata.  If you want to send a message, fine.  Just don’t do it when you’re only leading by three in the late innings and you’ve had trouble keeping the other team off the scoreboard for most of the series.  That’s what I mean when I say retaliation is short-sighted — sure, you’re letting your opponent back into the game, but that self righteousness sure feels awesome, doesn’t it?

The next half inning, Fielder got a chance to exact some revenge as well when he tried to score on an Alcides Escobar single to left.  It was clear that Fielder was going to be out by a mile, but I’m not sure he cared — he tried to put a hurting on Pittsburgh catcher Erik Kratz.  Earlier in the day, Pittsburgh put Ryan Doumit on the DL with concussion-like symptoms after Weeks steamrolled him the other night in a much more legitimate attempt to score.

It’s nice to see the Brewers pick up a win and get good pitching in the process, but it’s really hard to root for a team that can be this vindictive.  Want to make pitchers pay for constantly hitting your players?  Fine, do it on the field.  Get that free baserunner across the plate and take the free run.  Don’t perpetuate the idea that you have to get even by firing fastballs at hitters.  Don’t stoop down to the levels of teams like the Braves and Pirates.  For once, I’d like to see them take the high road.

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