Notes from this afternoon's pregame press scrum:
McCutchen: "He wasn't trying to hit me"
Andrew McCutchen believes that Sam LeCure was not trying to hit him last night: "He was trying to throw it inside. He wasn't trying to hit me, the intent was to go inside." The Pirates' center fielder revealed that LeCure told him that there was no intention behind the pitch, but he made clear that he is less than thrilled with constantly getting plunked by the Reds: "It sucks. I hate getting hit. I just happen to be the guy that always gets hit." McCutchen added that he understands how the Reds' plan to attack him and that he looks forward to them eventually making a mistake:
They just have a game plan and their game plan is to throw inside and if you throw inside you're going to miss inside. They don't throw it over the middle of the plate inside because they know what is going to happen if they miss, so that is what I look forward to.
Umpires on notice
After the game last night Dusty Baker mentioned that the umpires had told him that the league had put them on notice about the bad blood between the teams. The fact that the MLB is watching this series closely makes it more likely that warnings will be issued to both pitchers before tonight's game. This afternoon, Clint Hurdle said that he would find out about any warnings about an hour before the game.
Hurdle no fan of pregame warnings
With pregame warnings a strong possibility, Hurdle reiterated a point he has made many times this season: he'd rather allow the game to police itself. Asked about the impact warnings would have on the game, Hurdle said the following:
We've also played games with warnings where guys have been hit and nobody gets tossed. It doesn't have to be a breaking ball, it's very gray. I think that's the challenge that comes with it, probably as much for the umpires as anybody. But the guy that does wrong gets a mulligan, and nobody else can play. The game has a way of taking care of itself and we let it take care of itself, so that's the part that I continue to try to share and I get what they say, we just don't agree. We just flat out don't agree on the policy.
Umpires not consistent with warnings
Hurdle expressed some frustration with the lack of consistency between umpiring crews when dealing with situations like last night:
Yes. I've had different umpiring crews where they take it, the guy runs down to first, and you get away. All LeCure I'm sure did is try to pitch inside. The ball got away from him. Well, give us an opportunity to pitch inside and maybe a ball gets away from us. It's done. And I understand they don't want people to get hurt. Nobody does. I just don't understand how that works. The guy that does wrong gets the mulligan, and everything else gets shut down. That's something I don't get.
Odds and Ends
* Justin Wilson is back and available to pitch tonight.
* Hurdle revealed that Jason Grilli will get the save opportunity tonight, if such a situation were to arise.
* Bullpen roles will be on a day-by-day basis the rest of the way this season.
* Barmes is starting at shortstop over Jordy Mercer tonight because his past experience against Homer Bailey, Hurdle said.