There’s no love lost between the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees.
Tensions between the divisional rivals boiled over at the end of Tuesday’s game, leading to anger from both sides. Things started getting heated when Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman buzzed Mike Brosseau with a 101-mph fastball near the head with two outs in the top of the ninth inning.
Chapman fastball to the head had this guy seeing his life flash before his eyes pic.twitter.com/htO1foE3e0
— Barstool Sports (@BarstoolsTweets) September 2, 2020
Umpires huddled after the pitch and issued warnings to both clubs, leaving the first-place Rays fuming.
Moments later, Chapman struck out Brosseau to save a 5-3 Yankees win and immediately stared down the Rays hitter. Brosseau heard something yelled from New York’s dugout and turned to respond, leading to both benches emptying. Umpires quickly restored order, and no players threw punches.
The @RaysBaseball game ends in fireworks as both benches clear. Rays drop 5-3 to the Yankees.
— FOX Sports Florida & Sun (@FOXSportsFL) September 2, 2020
The incident seemed to irritate Tampa Bay’s staff and enrage manager Kevin Cash, who got ejected when the benches cleared even though the game was over. Cash ripped the Yankees postgame Tuesday for what he said were multiple instances of intentionally throwing at Rays batters.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous,” Cash said, according to Fox Sports Sun. “It was mishandled by the Yankees, certainly the pitcher on the mound. It was mishandled by the umpires. They hit (Rays third baseman) Joey Wendle intentionally in the first inning, it was clear as day.
“Chapman comes in, he throws three different balls up and in. I get it, they don’t like being thrown (at) up and in, but enough’s enough. We’re talking about a 100-mph fastball over a young man’s head, and just – it makes no sense. It’s poor judgment, poor coaching. It’s just poor teaching, what they’re doing, and what they’re allowing (pitchers) to do.”
Cash continued to say his pitcher had never intentionally thrown at the Yankees – but he took a parting shot at the Bronx Bombers with a slight warning for future contests.
“And the last thing I’ll say on it is I got a whole damn stable full of guys that throw 98 mph. Period,” Cash said.
Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier pointed to Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin as an instigator in the postgame incident, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
“Same guys over there chirping, trying to be all macho,” Kiermaier said, per Brendan Kuty of NJ.com.
“We beat (the Yankees) time and time again,” Kiermaier added, according to Chris Torello of Spectrum Sports 360. “Maybe that’s what frustrates them.”
Yankees skipper Aaron Boone appeared to be a bit caught off guard by Cash’s veracity.
“That’s pretty scary comments,” Boone said of Cash’s “98 mph” remark, according to Pete Caldera of the Bergen Record. “I don’t think that’s right at all. But I’m not going to get into it right now.”
D.J. LeMahieu said Cash’s comments made the rounds quickly in the Yankees clubhouse: “Sounds like they're gonna try to throw at us tomorrow. We'll be ready.”
— James Wagner (@ByJamesWagner) September 2, 2020
Chapman declined to speak to the media, a Yankees spokesperson told Kuty.
The Yankees and Rays conclude their season series Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. New York is 3 1/2 games back of Tampa Bay in the AL East.
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