Bell ejected for 2nd time in a week after HBP

July 3rd, 2022

CINCINNATI -- As was lying face-down in the dirt in the batter's box, the Reds shortstop thought for sure that his left hand was broken. After all, it had just been hit by a 100-mph fastball from Braves rookie starter Spencer Strider, and it sure did hurt.

The good -- and perhaps miraculous -- news was that X-rays on Farmer's hand were negative. That was about the most positive thing to come from a 4-1 Reds defeat on Saturday at Great American Ball Park.

"I've broken that bone a couple of times in the wrist and it's a long recovery," Farmer said. "I'm very fortunate that it's not broken."

Cincinnati has lost four games in a row and 12 out of the last 15. The club has also dropped 10 straight home games -- the most for the franchise since 1986.

Strider had a no-hitter going into the fifth inning when Farmer got hit by the 2-1 pitch batting leadoff. He was able to get up and walk to first base before Matt Reynolds took his place on the basepaths.

"Obviously I had no intention of hitting a guy leading off the fifth inning in a no-hitter, on a 2-1 count. I feel horrible," Strider said. "Of course, that’s part of the game -- injuries and hit-by-pitches -- but I never want to be the cause of an injury.”

Farmer was soon joined in the clubhouse by manager David Bell, who was ejected.

After checking on Farmer with the trainer, Bell was having what initially seemed to be a peaceful conversation with home plate umpire Tripp Gibson. That was until Gibson ejected Bell, who exploded with rage.

Bell had to be held back by bench coach Freddie Benavides and crew chief Laz Diaz from going after Gibson, who walked away. Bell kept pursuing Gibson then argued with Diaz before finally leaving the field. It was his second ejection of the season -- and the week -- and the 18th overall in his four seasons with the Reds.

According to Bell, the argument was not about suspecting that Strider hit Farmer intentionally. In the second inning, Reds pitcher Tyler Mahle hit Braves left fielder Adam Duvall on the hand with a fastball. Duvall exited the game in the third inning.

“Definitely nothing against the pitcher. He was trying to make pitches," Bell said. "I was pointing out that [Gibson was] giving [Strider] a few pitches earlier in the game off the outside of the plate, [which] kind of forces our hitters to kind of dive out there. That’s all I said. I know you’re not allowed to argue balls and strikes. It was that simple. It’s a rule, you can’t argue balls and strikes.

"I haven’t said a word from the dugout all year. It would be good to have a little bit more leeway than that, but it is a rule that you can’t argue balls and strikes.”

Strider, who finished with 11 strikeouts over six innings, lost his no-hitter when Nick Senzel blooped a two-out RBI single into shallow right-center field, scoring Reynolds, who had taken second on a wild pitch. Senzel also got fired up, yelling, "Let's go!" to his team's dugout. But Cincinnati could not muster another hit in the game.

Farmer's left hand was quite swollen after the game and he expected to miss a game or two.

"It depends on how I wake up in the morning. It feels pretty sore right now. Tight and sharp pain but X-ray showed no break, so it's a good thing," said Farmer, a team leader who is batting .280/.345/.411 with five home runs this season. Fortunately, it got the meat of it. It's a surprise a 100-mph baseball doesn't break anything.

"It wasn't intentional, I know, but anyone who throws 100 mph, it doesn't give you much time to get out of the way. I know he wasn't trying to do it or anything like that. But when you throw 100 mph, 101, 102, you hit somebody, it's pretty devastating."

It's been a long season for the Reds, who own the National League's worst record at 26-51 and the second-worst record in the Major Leagues.

Bell denied that his argument and ejection had anything to do with frustration over the Reds' record or more recent struggles.

"Hey, there’s plenty of frustration -- staff, players, myself. I know our players are doing absolutely everything in their power to turn this around," he said. "Our staff is doing the same. So I’m looking long and hard at what I need to do to help turn this around and get it going in the right direction. That’s really our only focus. Absolutely not, that had nothing to do with any sort of frustration about losing games. Completely separate.”