Dodgers-Phillies getting testy
Now this is playoff baseball. Dodger Stadium is rocking. The home team is up 7-1 and hitting the ball all over the park, and now things are getting extremely testy.
We knew that the Dodgers wanted to establish that they meant business this time out, not only by scoring early runs but also by pitching inside. Well, as it turns out the Phillies were the early aggressors when it came to throwing inside, as Russell Martin was hit on the knee in the first inning and then brushed back with a high-and-inside pitch his next time up.
It's unclear, of course, whether these were purpose pitches, but probably. How would the Dodgers respond? Third inning, two out, Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino batting, and Hiroki Kuroda sent a sizzler not only inside, but high. Too high, if you ask me, because it appeared that ball went somewhere near Victorino’s head. (Note that in the first inning, after a series of strikes, a Kuroda pitch sailed above both the batter and his catcher, hitting the backstop.)
Soon we had Kuroda and Victorino in a heated exchange, the two teams sprinting onto the field to jaw at one another -– Manny Ramirez for a short moment led the charge and had to be restrained by several teammates. Joe Torre and Davey Lopes were standing near the first-base line, yelling at each other in ways that didn’t exactly appear to be polite, and the crowd was going absolutely apoplectic.
The teams finally walked off the field while Lopes, the old Dodgers great who was honored before this game, continued to bark.
It was beautiful stuff, theatric stuff, and meaningful stuff: a message from the Dodgers that they weren’t going to let their boys get pitched at the way Martin was, a message from both teams that they plan to fight to the last strike, play aggressive baseball, not give an inch. It has been two full decades of playoff futility at Chavez Ravine, so this kind of tension is a welcome sight. Just hope no one gets seriously hurt!
-- Kurt Streeter
Photo: Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino is restrained by teammates after getting into a heated exchange with Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, who sailed a pitch toward his head. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times