Over the weekend, the Brewers-Cubs rivalry heated up once again. Amid a 9-0 blowout win for the Cubs on Saturday, Cubs reliever Keegan Thompson intentionally hit Brewers outfielder Andrew McCutchen with a fastball in the back in the 8th inning.
Punishment has just been handed down by MLB. Keegan Thompson was suspended three games and fined for intentionally throwing at McCutchen and manager David Ross was also suspended one game.
These two rivals have been plunking each other a lot in recent seasons. The Brewers have hit Cubs players with pitches 27 times over the last two seasons and the Cubs have hit the Brewers 26 times. Cubs catcher Willson Contreras has received a large number of these hit by pitches and he was hit by a pitch earlier in the game and was upset about it.
But what really set off the Cubs was in the 7th inning when Ian Happ was hit on the knee by a 1-2 slider from Trevor Gott in the 7th inning, a clearly unintentional HBP based on the situation and the pitch thrown. The next inning, the Cubs retaliated by intentionally throwing at McCutchen, missing the first two attempts before finally hitting him on the third try.
MLB acted swiftly and correctly. Despite the large number of HBPs from the Brewers against the Cubs, none have been intentional. The Cubs, meanwhile, have retaliated a number of times now by intentionally plunking Brewers batters. Last year, Cubs reliever Ryan Tepera intentionally threw at Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff, leading to a suspension.
The 2022 season may have just begun, but for Cubs reliever Keegan Thompson and Cubs manager David Ross, they've already been suspended for recklessness and intentionally hitting an opponent with a pitch.