Three Houston Astros were hit by pitches in their 15-6 win over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday. In fact, Royals pitcher Jorge Lopez hit Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman on consecutive at-bats.
Many people assumed that this was retribution for the Astros sign-stealing scandal, but Altuve and Bregman were hit with the bases loaded. George Springer, meanwhile, was hit by a breaking ball that got away from Royals minor league pitcher Jackson Kowar.
So yeah, not exactly the plunkings that many fans envisioned this past winter.
“I didn’t think [there] was intent,” former MLB pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith said on Tiki & Tierney. “But at the same time, even if that ball slips out of your hand or it’s a breaking ball, just claim it, man. If you’re a young pitcher and you drill him, even if it’s a 75 mile-per-hour spinner out there, just claim it. The whole world is watching and everyone is anticipating some kind of bean ball session as the season goes on.”
That’s right. Rowland-Smith, who pitched for the Mariners and Diamondbacks, believes a pitcher should claim intent – even if there was none.
“You got to claim it regardless,” the 37-year old said. “Even if it was a breaking ball, stick the chest out a little bit, start walking toward the batter’s box and you’re good.”
Rowland-Smith wouldn’t mind seeing pitchers intentionally plunk the Astros this season.
“I feel like the Astros have gotten off lightly this year with the shutdown and then no fans,” he said. “If you’re ever going to start banging on drums to give away pitches, 2019 was the year to do it. . . . I just hope that this is something that, fans or no fans, hopefully as this year goes on there’s enough of a message being sent.”