Things got heated just after Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman struck out pinch-hitter Michael Brousseau to end it. That game-ending whiff came moments after a 101-mph Chapman fastball narrowly missed Brousseau’s head. Here’s a look:
Regardless, a fastball like Chapman’s in the vicinity of the batter’s head is going to raise hackles regardless of whether it was thrown with a purpose. And in case you thought this was over, the postgame comments of Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash suggest no such thing. Cash said:
”It’s absolutely ridiculous. It was mishandled by the Yankees. Certainly the pitcher on the mound. It was mishandled by the umpires.
”Somebody has to be accountable. The last thing I’ll say on it is I got a whole damn stable full of guys that throw 98 mph. Period.”
The invoking of accountability while shortly thereafter mentioning that you have at your disposal “a whole damn stable” of hard throwers means not much parsing is necessary. Cash, without expressly making a threat, is strongly suggesting that the Rays will retaliate against the Yankees at some point.
As for his counterpart, Yankees manager Aaron Boone called Cash’s remark ”a pretty scary comment” and then said, “I don’t think that’s right at all. But I’m not going to get into it right now.”
Elsewhere in this game, the Yankees’ DJ LeMahieu homered twice, and Kevin Kiermaier of the Rays went deep for a third straight game and after not homering at all in his first 29 games of the season. The Yankees’ win means they’ve reduced the Rays’ lead in the division to 3 1/2 games. These two teams will meet for the final time in the 2020 regular season on Wednesday, and given what happened Tuesday that one will merit your rapt attention.