It’s difficult to imagine anything more terrifying for a baseball player than seeing a 101 mph fastball from Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman come barreling towards your head.
That’s one of those situations where a batting helmet can only offer so much protection. So, it was easy to understand why the Tampa Bay Rays were so upset on Tuesday night.
With the Yankees up by two runs in the ninth inning and two outs, Chapman threw a 101 mph fastball high and tight against Mike Brosseau. The Rays pinch hitter ducked out of the way and seemingly avoided taking that pitch to the head by mere inches.
Yikes. I’d probably retire after experiencing that — just … NOPE.
Chapman went on to strike Brosseau out to end the game, but the Rays weren’t done when it came to voicing their displeasure with Chapman.
The Rays seemed to think that Chapman intentionally threw the pitch at Brosseau’s head, which wouldn’t have made much sense situationally despite throwing several high-and-tight fastballs in the inning.
Why would Chapman want to put someone on base and face the tying run? He wouldn’t. But Chapman did step open with his front leg and walk towards Brosseau after the pitch — not exactly a great look for the Yankees pitcher. Plus, Joey Wendle was hit in the first inning. The tension was there.
So, the umpires did issue warnings to both teams after that pitch. Again, watch Chapman’s front leg and his post-pitch walk towards the plate.
After the game, Rays manager Kevin Cash went off on the Yankees and the umpiring crew for how they handled the situation. Cash clearly felt that the pitch was intentional.
Chapman, on the other hand, declined to comment after the game.
The Yankees and Rays play again on Wednesday, so we’ll have to see if these tensions carry over from Tuesday night.