CHICAGO -- Kristopher Bryant's fourth-inning at-bat against the White Sox was nothing if not eventful.Having already been struck out twice on the day, Bryant saw his day take a turn for the worse when he fouled off a pitch into his right knee in his third at-bat. He stayed in
CHICAGO -- Kristopher Bryant's fourth-inning at-bat against the White Sox was nothing if not eventful.
Having already been struck out twice on the day, Bryant saw his day take a turn for the worse when he fouled off a pitch into his right knee in his third at-bat. He stayed in the game, an eventual 7-2 Cubs win, for one more pitch before leaving for an entirely different reason.
"That one I knew for a fact," Bryant said. "I had to stick up for myself."
That "one" referred back to the final pitch of the at-bat, a 92.6-mph four-seamer that looked to be several inches inside and off the plate.
Bryant, who maneuvered to get out of the way of the pitch, could only watch to his chagrin as he was called out on strikes. He instantly went up to home-plate umpire Lance Barksdale, arguing the call in a sequence that would lead to his first Major League ejection.
"[I'm] actually kind of surprised [I was ejected]. It was a disagreement, but I don't think it was too animated," Bryant said. "It's frustrating. I know he's trying to do the best job he can. I'm trying to do the best job I can. ... I don't want to be that guy that gets thrown out of games. I try to be professional on the field, but like I said, I have to stick up for myself sometimes."
After the game, Bryant noted he had only one other ejection in his career -- including high school, college and even T-ball. That ejection came on July 8, 2014, when Bryant was tossed for arguing a similar called strike while with Triple-A Iowa.
As for the 2017 occurrence, Cubs manager Joe Maddon followed in Bryant's footsteps, calmly chatting with the umpire to try and assess what happened.
"I go, 'What did he say?' And he told me, and I'm thinking, 'My God, that's not harsh enough.' I mean, I've clearly said a lot harsher than that," Maddon said. "It was so awkwardly benign what he said, and that he would get kicked out for it, so I just couldn't get all worked up."
The real fireworks never came, though it looked like they might later on.
Things started to heat up after Cubs starter John Lackey, who had already drilled Jose Abreu in the arm with a 92.2-mph two-seamer in the first inning, struggled with his command again in the fifth. Lackey loaded the bases in the frame all on HBPs, plunking Abreu for a second time, as well as Matt Davidson and Yoan Moncada.
As would be expected, White Sox righty Chris Beck started off the bottom half of the frame by throwing a pair of inside pitches to Ian Happ, the latter of which caught him in the leg. Barksdale quickly walked onto the grass to warn both benches. Things settled down shortly after.
"I told Happy, 'My bad.' [I] apologized for that. Have to buy him something nice."
Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.