The Yankees and Rays will play each other for the final time of 2020 on Wednesday night in the Bronx, fresh off an explosive night.
There should be no doubt in the mind of anyone that the Rays are now the biggest rivals of the Yankees. With Boston producing weak teams the past few seasons, the Yankees have found their new bitter rival. Tensions have flown high between these two teams lately and Tuesday night proved to be no different.
For starters, Masahiro Tanaka beaned Rays’ Joey Wendle in the first inning with a pitch that Wendle felt like was intentional. Everything seemed quiet until the ninth inning rolled around and Aroldis Chapman launched a 100 mph fastball right past the head of Mike Brosseau. Following Chapman striking him out, benches cleared and words were exchanged as tensions had reached a boiling point in the Bronx.
However, the postgame interviews are where things seemed to escalate and become violent with threats from the Rays side of the incident.
“I can assure you, other than three years ago, there hasn’t been one pitch thrown with intent from any of our guys.” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Somebody has to be accountable and the last thing I’ll say is I have a whole damn stable full of guys that throw 98 mph.”
This is unheard of coming from a major league manager and goes way beyond the line of competition that is drawn in the sand. There is no doubt that these two teams aren’t each other’s biggest fans, but I’m pretty sure Cash went too far with this comment.
When the comments were brought up to Aaron Boone, he said “That’s pretty scary comments. I don’t think that’s right at all.” This is a response a little bit on the soft side, but what else did you expect from Boone? Even if he did want to respond in an aggressive way, the Yankees front office would never let him do so.
"Sounds like they're gonna try to throw at us tomorrow. We'll be ready"
DJ LeMahieu on Kevin Cash's comments pic.twitter.com/QsDVxt2gwN
— Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) September 2, 2020
Yankees slugger DJ LeMahieu seems to ready for anything that may come the Yankees way on Wednesday night in the final game of the season between these two teams; “Sounds like they’re gonna try to throw at us tomorrow.” DJ said. “We’ll be ready”.
So now for the question of the hour, will we see tensions come to a breaking point on Wednesday night? My answer is most likely, yes. There is a very strong possibility that we once again see the benches clear if there are any pitches that get to close to the batter of either team. Warnings will likely be issued to both teams before the game starts, but I doubt this will have any impact on anything.
I’m never an advocate for violence on the baseball field, but the Yankees need to show up to the field tomorrow with aggression and prove to the Rays that they can’t just say and do whatever they want. Outshine them with your performance on the field and while Tampa is distracted by their feelings being hurt, score runs and pounce on them.
Verdict: We will most likely see benches once again clear after another hit by pitch, but an all-out brawl is unlikely.