After a rain delay, a large strike zone, and a pitcher (Matz) out for blood — tensions were high enough for Bryce Harper to find himself ejected for the 12th time in his career. A strikeout aided by a high pitch to Harper, combined with an elbow-high pitch to Hernandez a few batters later further escalated the situation Monday. Soon enough, the ferocious Bryce barreled up the dugout steps so quickly he stumbled and fell on camera. After a minor wrestling match with his manager, Bryce was ejected, and tensions were higher than ever. We were even graced with this glorious quote from manager Gabe Kapler thanks to the lip-reading abilities of @jomboy_ on Twitter:
By the end of the game on Monday, 2 Mets hitters — McNeil and Alonso — had been hit by pitches. This, combined with the HBPs of Cano and Alonso in the days prior left a sour taste in the mouths of many fans, and certainly with the players.
On Tuesday, a decisive 9-0 victory by the Mets further compounded these issues. When the score was 8-0, arrogant baserunning by Realmuto seemed to draw the ire of the Mets. In the next inning, a hit-and-run play by Lagares and Cano while leading by 8 runs caught the eye of the Phillies.
Balls were thrown at the Mets inside the plate all night, and the players were visibly aggravated. When a ball from Jacob Rhame sailed past the head of Rhys Hoskins, both benches cleared but did not engage. A relief pitcher with an ugly track record and control issues, Rhame did not appear to intentionally throw at Hoskins and denied this after the game. However, after another pitch was thrown up and inside, warnings were issued to both benches.
A feisty divisional serious in a contested NL East was sure to brew some excitement, but not many could have pictured this. On Wednesday, in the final game of the series, both fan bases are keeping an extra eye out for trouble. The Mets should try to stay out of any altercations for their own safety, as they have already had HBP scares this season. However, if teams will not stop hitting the players and throwing inside, the Mets need to make a statement and stand up for their guys.