“Right now, that really showed me a lot today in a negative way,” said a defiant Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon, following their 8-3 win over the Cardinals on Friday afternoon. “I don’t know who put out the hit. I don’t know if Tony Soprano was in the dugout, but I didn’t see him in there. But we’re not going to put up with that. I’m going to say that. From them or anyone else,”
Maddon was responding to Matt Belisle’s pitch that was thrown behind the knees of Cubs’ slugger Anthony Rizzo in the seventh inning. It led to Belisle’s ejection in what appeared to be a message sent back to the Cubs after Matt Holliday was hit in the head two innings earlier.
Holliday had to leave the game in the fifth inning as he came up to face Dan Haren with a runner on second base and one out. Haren’s fastball tailed up and in and caught Holliday in the ear hole of his helmet. Holliday walked to first and then was taken out of the ball game as a precautionary measure.
Haren said that he didn’t intend to hit Holliday and after the inning ended he went into the dugout to apologize to Rizzo.
Why would he apologize to his star hitter? Haren understands the “Cardinal Way,” when it comes to hit batters. Haren pitched under Tony LaRussa.
“Being there before, they always police things like that,” Haren said. “So like I said, I told Rizzo, ‘If you get it, I’m sorry.’ They threw at him.”
Haren went even further to call out his former team by going a bit further.
“They might take it to the extreme a little bit with that stuff. I think everyone understands it. I guess at least they didn’t throw at his head.”
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny reported that Holliday passed all of his test and was showing no effects from the hit.
“I don’t like seeing anybody get hit in the head. Our guys, their guy, anybody,” Matheny said. “We all understand the seriousness of it and I’m glad to see that he, like the guy yesterday, was able to walk away. It’s something that is tough to see.”
The stage is set for two more games in the regular season and a potential Divisional Playoff Series should the Cubs get past Pittsburgh in the Wild Card.
Maddon made one thing clear by drawing a line in the sand following Friday’s game. If his team is going down, they’ll be going down with a fight.