Sean Rodriguez and Tony Watson Open Up About the Brawl

PITTSBURGH — Things got interesting in the seventh inning of tonight’s Wild Card game. Tony Watson entered the game in relief, and after getting the first two batters, he came up against Jake Arrieta. And the first pitch was a 93 MPH fastball that hit Arrieta in the hip. That led to the benches clearing, and Sean Rodriguez getting ejected. You can see a brief recap below.

After the game, Watson discussed the pitch, noting that he was trying to protect his guys after two Pirates hitters were hit. Clint Hurdle addressed whether he thought there was intent when Arrieta hit Francisco Cervelli or Josh Harrison earlier in the game.

“Well, you’ve got a pitcher that’s dotting everything up, throwing four pitches for strikes and Cervelli gets pitched hot up top, so I don’t think anybody was a fan of that,” Hurdle said. “Josh got hit with a breaking ball. That’s probably just a pitch that got away.”

As for Watson, he was asked about the execution of the pitch, and whether hitting a guy in the butt is the perfect place to send a message.

“You never want to intentionally hurt a guy, especially a guy like that, that’s having a historical second half, having a great season,” Watson said. “So the butt’s perfect.”

Watson wasn’t surprised that the benches cleared, since the tensions were high on both sides and everyone wanted to win. He did have a lot to say, but clarified that Arrieta didn’t say anything to him, and he was just getting vocal to draw attention and try and avoid Cervelli getting tossed from the game.

“I was just trying to keep [Cervelli] in the game,” Watson said. “Once those things are happening, you’re in the mix. Keep your head on a swivel and try to keep everybody in the game.”

As for the actual brawl, Sean Rodriguez was very candid about what happened after the game, saying that David Ross grabbed him by the throat, which led to his outburst that got him ejected.

“He was putting his hands on me, telling me ‘what are you going to do?’ I’m not going to do anything man,” Rodriguez said. “And he just grabbed me by the neck. I don’t even care what’s said or what’s going on at that point. You don’t grab a man by the neck and expect nothing to happen. I’m pissed off because nobody saw that. So he doesn’t get thrown out.”

When I say Rodriguez was candid, I mean he was candid. His comments on what he did during the brawl:

“I didn’t hit anybody. I wish I had. It’s the truth.”

As for Ross, he commented on the situation in the other clubhouse, saying that he didn’t mean to put his hand around Rodriguez’s neck.

Rodriguez did say that in retrospect, he didn’t handle the situation well.

“Did I act appropriately afterwards? Absolutely not,” Rodriguez said. “I probably said things I shouldn’t have said. But that’s how you feel in the moment. Someone is grabbing you by the neck, pushing you back, what are you supposed to do?”

The brawl came at a time when the game was all but over for the Pirates, with Arrieta pitching so well. It also wrapped up a very frustrating month, which featured the Cubs taking out Jung-ho Kang, a tight Wild Card race, and the hit batters tonight. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until next season to see if the Cubs decide to respond.

  • I don’t like intentional beanballs as a rule, but at least Watson had the decency to throw his at the hip instead of the head or hands.

    I still thought it was stupid to do, though, putting the pitcher on for free and getting himself a warning.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    October 8, 2015 5:46 pm

    We did nothing when Kang got hurt with that dangerous, careless, and late slide by Coughlin – last night was not the time to do it. Too little, too late.

  • Arrieta was very classy in his post-game interview. Ross is classy in his explanation above. The one guy who doesn’t seem to have any class is Maddon.

  • The thing I liked about Watson hitting Arrieta is that it caused a warning to be given, which meant Arrieta lost the inside of the plate the rest of the game. It didn’t work out, but if they did it with that in mind, it was pretty brilliant. They probably should have done it earlier in the game.

    Hey, if a take-out slide at second is a “hard baseball play”, then inducing the umpire to warn the other team’s ace is not only less dirty, it’s great gamesmanship.

  • So, is Sean Rodriguez back next season?

    Here is a bench guy who has several positives
    and also a couple of negatives.

    • S Rod did a lot of good things but he’s replaceable. I don’t think they bring him back.

      • He brought the glove, but the hitting did not get there until way late in the season. I think we paid him $2 mil and traded Borden to get him. We may be able to get the same type of glove, but with a better bat in one of the many trades that I expect will take place this off-season. I wonder if it is possible to make trades now or whether there is an agreed upon waiting period until after the WS ends?

        • The Pirates are thankfully about one year away from not having to pay real money to unproductive veterans like Rodriguez, but yeah, wouldn’t be the worst guy to bring back for league minimum.

          I think Sean Rodriguez has a tough time finding a Major League contract this winter.

          • I am no expert, but I think he will find a job somewhere if not with the Pirates. His resume this year shows that he played about 6 positions (if you count the disaster at shortstop), hit in the 240’s, was probably good in the locker room and with the fans, and played on a winning team. I think
            that’s a good addition to a resume.

  • Marte smoked the ball on the DP with the bases loaded. And Marte has been great, but I couldn’t help thinking even before the DP how nice it would have been to have Kang there…

    The Cubs couldn’t take out our CF or LF but a SS is easy pickings. Schwarber tried to on the previous DP ball and Coghlan did. And when Maddon made his joke about planting hard that confirmed for me that it was part of their strategy. Shame that a team has to try to win that way but I think that’s the Cubs way–if you can’t win with class you resort to other ways to get an edge.

  • Jake Arrieta did not pitch that well after the 6th inning. With 2 on and a full count Pedro got rung up on a pitch way out of the strike zone. Then Marte and Ramirez both hit balls hard but right at guys with multiple runners on that wound up being double plays. Arrieta’s control was way off in the last few innings. If he pitches like that the rest of the post season someone is going to burn him.

  • Funny how when, “We didn’t start this, but we’re going to finish it,” goes against them, Maddon and the Cubs turn into whiny children.

  • I would say that we still have not retaliated for Kang.