On Saturday night (July 19th), Cardinals starter Joe Kelly hit Dodger right fielder Yasiel Puig on the hand. The next game, Puig was forced to sit due to soreness in that hand. In game 1 of the National League Championship Series last year, the same Joe Kelly drilled Dodger shortstop Hanley Rameriz in the ribs with a pitch. Rameriz suffered a bruised rib, and was out of commission for the rest of the series. So when Puig was hit by Kelly Saturday night, naturally people began questioning whether Kelly may have hit Puig on purpose. I, however, found it easy to believe that Kelly simply hit Puig on accident. Around 500 batters get hit by a pitch a year in the MLB. A single Dodger getting hit, therefore cannot necessarily be ruled as intentional.
On Saturday night (July 20th), Hanley Rameriz came up to bat in the ninth inning, and was nailed on the wrist by 98 MPH fastball out of the hands of Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal. Rameriz, who remember was the fell victim to Cardinals pitching in the NLCS, was forced to come out of Sunday night’s game. This was the second time in the game that Rameriz was hit by a pitch. In the third inning, Rameriz was hit on the shoulder by a 99 MPH Carlos Martinez fastball.
This leads to the question of whether or not the Cardinals are to blame for the injuries of Puig and Rameriz. While evidence suggest that the plunkings were intentional, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny argued that his pitchers were simply throwing inside to good hitters. Yet even if this argument is accepted, the injuries are still the Cardinals’ responsibility. It is fine for a team to pitch inside on a hitter, given the pitcher has control over his pitches. Cardinals pitchers, however, seem incapable of controlling their inside pitches. As a result, two Dodgers have bit injured. There is not much a hitter can do when a pitcher throws an erratic fastball inside. Until Cardinals pitchers can control their inside pitches, they should not be throwing inside.