Two things happened in Wednesday’s Braves-Blue Jays game that made Thursday’s rematch particularly worth keeping an eye on.
1. A pitch from Toronto pitcher Aaron Loup hit Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman in the wrist, breaking a bone and sidelining the NL home run leader for approximately eight weeks.
2. Notorious provocateur Jose Bautista flipped his bat on an eighth-inning home run, sparking ire from the Braves.
So naturally, in the first inning Thursday, Atlanta starter Julio Teheran threw a fastball right at Bautista’s thigh, resulting in both sides being warned by the umpire.
— FOX Sports: Braves (@FOXSportsBraves) May 18, 2017
The most amusing/horrifying part of Teheran throwing at Bautista: The pitch was the righty’s hardest thrown fastball since the 2015 season, according to ESPN Stats & Info. That’s right, Teheran throws harder when seeking revenge on an opponent than he does when trying to get hitters out.
Julio Teherán's pitch to hit Bautista was 95.6 MPH. It was his fastest since 2015.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 18, 2017
Though Teheran surely felt good about himself for avenging Freeman’s injury and punishing Bautista for his bat flip (and not even getting ejected for it), there was a steep price to pay. After Bautista was hit by the pitch with one out, Kendrys Morales singled, Darrell Ceciliani doubled, Chris Coghlan doubled, and the Braves suddenly trailed 3-0.
The unwritten rules work against ATL. The struggling Teheran drills Bautista, who reaches base to start a 3-run rally. What's the point?
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) May 19, 2017
Batting again in the second inning, Bautista doubled off Teheran and came around to score his team’s fourth run. As of this writing, the score is now 6-0 Toronto.
Was that worth it, Julio? Was it really worth it?