Wong not pleased with being plunked twice
Second baseman calls renewed Cardinals-Cubs rivalry 'good for baseball'
CHICAGO -- A day after declining postgame comment on being hit twice by Cubs pitchers in the Cardinals' 5-4 loss Saturday, Kolten Wong acknowledged he chose to keep silent because he "didn't want to say anything that I shouldn't say."
Wong found himself front and center in an emotionally charged game on Saturday, a day after Cubs manager Joe Maddon called the Cardinals, among other things, a "vigilante group" for plunking first baseman Anthony Rizzo a few innings after Cards outfielder Matt Holliday took a fastball off his helmet.
Wong, who leads the team with 15 hit-by-pitches, was struck first by Trevor Cahill in the sixth. It happened again with a Fernando Rodney pitch in the eighth, which led to both benches being warned. Wong made a point of walking slowly and deliberately to first base.
"I was pretty [upset] that not once, but twice I got hit," he said. "I don't know how to explain it, but I didn't like it."
Before the game ended, the Cubs also hit Greg Garcia, leading to ejections of Maddon and Hector Rondon. The Cardinals' clubhouse simmered afterward, angry about what had happened to Holliday on Friday and also the follow-up events that had occurred.
"I think any time you hit somebody in the head, regardless if it's meant to happen or not, that's not OK," Wong said, alluding to the Holliday hit-by-pitch. "We didn't hit Rizzo in any place that, I don't think, is even going to give him a bruise. It's postseason baseball. Everyone is ready to go. Tensions are up. Things are going to happen."
Wong described the weekend series as playoff-like, but added that the Cardinals could benefit in October from playing such intense, meaningful games in September. He also noted the positive of a renewed Cubs-Cardinals rivalry.
"Obviously, rivalries are going to heat up again and guys are going to start being a little more tense around this time," Wong said. "That's good. That's good for baseball. It's good for this division, because it brings back a lot more excitement that we didn't have with these guys."
• With the Giants' loss on Saturday, the Cardinals officially clinched their place in the postseason. Since players and staff had already departed Wrigley Field by the time that game went final, manager Mike Matheny congratulated everyone via text message. He said the group will more formally recognize the achievement at a later time. There would be a full champagne celebration if the Cardinals win a division title.
• Holliday tested his quad running the bases on Sunday morning and is expected to be playing the field by the end of the team's upcoming homestand.