Reds pitcher Mat Latos revealed after Tuesday night’s 4-0 loss against Pittsburgh that he had been fined by Major League Baseball for hitting Pirates second baseman Neil Walker on June 2.
It is part of the on-going beaning war that has been going on between the two teams since last season.
Pirates starter Charlie Morton hit Reds centerfielder Shin-Soo Choo with the first pitch of the bottom of the first inning Tuesday. Reds closer Aroldis Chapman knocked back Walker in the ninth inning of Monday’s 4-1 Reds victory, a high-and-tight pitch that Walker didn’t appreciate. Morton and Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle both denied hitting Choo on purpose.
“I think it’s competitive baseball,” said Hurdle. “You use the term ‘beanball,’ I don’t go there. It’s competitive baseball. You’ve got to do certain things to win and when two teams are focused on winning and neither one wants to blink and they play hard, you push the envelope a lot of different places, not just at the plate getting the ball in on people, but breaking up double plays and doing everything. We’ve got to beat these guys. We’ve got to beat the Cardinals to get where we want to go. These are good baseball teams. You’ve got to do some things you’ve never done before to beat good baseball teams.”
When Choo got hit, Latos was up at the top of the dugout steps letting his feelings be known. It was the 19th time this season Choo has been hit this season, seven times by Pittsburgh.
“I got in trouble for hitting Neil Walker for protecting my teammates. I just think that it’s time that somebody steps up and starts disciplining the team that’s drilled the most guys in the league,” said Latos.
Pittsburgh pitchers have hit 39 opposing batters this season, including the Reds 10 times. Latos’ hitting of Walker earlier this month came one day after Brandon Phillips had been hit and suffered a left forearm contusion that forced him to miss four games.
“They’ve hit a lot of guys. Whether it was intentional or by accident something’s got to be done about it. The team that goes up there and has hit the most guys in the league, that’s not right,” said Latos. “Whether I got fined for accidentally hitting Neil Walker or I got fined for hitting him on purpose to protect my own teammates, to have that happen I know I can’t control the game or how they get disciplined but something needs to come up out of that.
“You’ve got a team that’s drilling people and it’s over and over again, something’s got to be done. The league has to step in and say something to them and end it.”
Latos allowed three runs on three hits in the first inning but retired 14 of the last 15 batters he faced before having to be pulled for a pinch hitter in the fifth inning.
“It definitely lit a fire under me, that’s for sure,” said Latos. “In the back of my mind, I don’t want to retaliate and get slapped with another week fine for that kind of crap.”