A steady stream of high and inside pitches from Pirates starter Jordan Lyles set off Cubs manager Joe Maddon yesterday, causing him to hop out of his dugout, to angrily shout at the Pirates’ dugout, and to even uncork a nifty little spin move in his efforts to break free of the umpire’s grip. Maddon’s antics earned himself an ejection and some credibility as a possible backyard football pass rusher.
Lyles had been throwing dangerously up and in all game long—a tactic Maddon believes, as expressed in his postgame comments, to be one the Pirates have employed too often this season. It was Cubs infielder Javier Baez’s at-bat at the top of the fourth that sent Maddon over the edge.
Baez had to duck one pitch that was flying near his head, and in doing so he came up a little gimpy, as if he’d tweaked his knee while evading the errant throw. He was okay, though, and continued the at-bat. A few pitches later, Lyles threw a ball that banged off the knob of Baez’s bat. That was when Maddon sprung into action.
Once Maddon had made his way onto the field, two umpires and several Cubs players had to hold him back. As impressive as Maddon’s spin was, he wasn’t able to use it to get away from the group of peacemakers boxing him in. Eventually he returned to his dugout, accepted his ejection, and went inside.
The following video shows the ordeal, as well as some of the Pirates’ up and in pitching throughout the game (for instance, in the fifth inning, Pirates reliever Clay Holmes beaned David Bote in the helmet). The Maddon stuff starts about a minute and a half in:
The Cubs went on to win the game, 11–3. After the game, Maddon said the Pirates’ up and in pitching was “getting way too out of control,” and that “it’s been that way somewhat the entire series.” When asked about his spin move, Maddon complimented Joe West, the ump who corralled him, by saying West could make a pretty good left tackle. Maddon was maybe being too deferential, though, since West’s hands were clearly outside Maddon’s body frame, making it an obvious hold.