Phillies fans’ hearts dropped. The beloved Bryce Harper and strong offensive producer for the Phillies collapsed to the ground after taking a first pitch 97 MPH sinker from Cardinals pitcher Génesis Cabrera to the face in the top of the 6th inning. Harper was bleeding from a cut on his nose but thankfully was able to walk off on his own power.
However, some fans after the injury could not help but remember Giancarlo Stanton’s horrific face injury from a hit by pitch in 2014 that ended his season and required facial restructuring. Harper does surprisingly appear alright. He was taken to a local hospital for a CT scan and reported in an Instagram video that his “face is still there.”
What ensued next changed the outcome of the ballgame. Cabrera showed concern after hitting Harper and attempted to readjust before the next batter, Didi Gregorius, entered the batter’s box. On the next pitch, Cabrera hit Gregorius in the ribs with a 95 MPH 4-seam fastball! He hit two batters on two straight 95 plus MPH pitches! The umpires convened to determine whether to do nothing, eject Cabrera, or warn both dugouts, and their decision to only warn both dugouts led Joe Girardi to walk out of the Phillies dugout to speak with the umpires. Girardi was obviously upset that his pitchers would be ejected if they unintentionally hit a batter because they had been warned. As the manager, he has to protect his players, so having two of them hit by back-to-back fastballs then his dugout gets warned for nothing while the pitcher gets to stay in the game definitely infuriated Girardi. He then pointed at Cabrera and “threw him out” of the game which led to the ejection of Girardi by the home plate umpire Chris Segal. Girardi afterward stated about Cabrera, “He’s got to go. Just for the safety of the players.”
Girardi continued to argue between the umpires and even directed some words at Cabrera. Andrew McCutchen then came to the plate and blasted an RBI single that scored the go-ahead run and would eventually seal the win.
After the 8th inning concluded, one of the Phillies’ better relievers, Sam Coonrod, left the mound and started to mouth off at the Cardinals dugout as Knapp pushed him towards the Phillies dugout. Coonrod then ran back onto the field to make additional remarks towards the Cardinals as Brad Miller and Rhys Hoskins tried corraling him back into the dugout before any further action would ensue.
Harper and Gregorius were both expectedly absent in Game 4 of the series. The Phillies did get retaliation in Game 4 as Hector Neris drilled Nolan Arenado with a first-pitch 94 MPH 4-seam fastball in the 9th inning with two outs recorded. Neris has a history of behavior like this, and the timing of it appears to be intentional, but he was allowed to stay in the game, and warnings were not issued to both dugouts. One batter later, Cardinals Manager Mike Shildt started barking from his dugout and was subsequently ejected by home plate umpire Brennan Miller. However, Shildt did return to the field to celebrate the Cardinals’ walk-off victory in the 10th inning. All in all, the last two games in this series were highly contentious and could lead to further tension between these two teams in the future.
Jomboy breaks down the hit by pitch on Harper and Gregorius while also covering the Girardi ejection which will be linked below.