Presumably you’ve already seen the footage of Boston’s David Ortiz and Baltimore reliever Kevin Gregg slap-fest during last night’s bench-clearing skirmish. For those who believe Gregg more than slightly overreacted to Ortiz swinging at an 3-0 pitch with the game all but done and dusted, the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebeic hails Gregg as “a very good teammate…and if he thought a Red Sox hitter was either showing one of his younger teammates up or getting far too comfortable in the batter’s box, it doesn’t surprise me that he would take it upon himself to do something about it.”
Perhaps, the Orioles were ticked at how Ortiz admired his three-run blast off rookie left-hander Zach Britton in the first inning. Maybe, they didn’t like Darnell McDonald lingering in the batter’s box in the third inning to argue a called third strike in an 8-0 game, or Kevin Youkilis fussing about a checked swing call during garbage time of the blowout from the night before. Or maybe they thought that former teammate Matt Albers was trying to show them up with his multiple fist pumps after he struck out four of the six hitters that he faced in two scoreless innings last night.
It probably was a combination of all those things and a few more that I missed, but the bottom line is with how frustrated and beaten the Orioles are right now, it wasn’t going to take much to get under their skin.
Taking a page out of manager Buck Showalter’s notebook, Gregg cited Boston’s massive payroll in postgame remarks, promising reporters, “we’re not backing down, we’re not scared of them…we’re here to play the game, we have just as much right to play the game here, and we’re going to do everything we can to win.’’ Tough talk from a guy whose colleagues have allowed 50 runs in their last 5 games (and are in the midst of 1-10 stretch). Gregg’s O’s not only have every right to take the field, there are other clubs who’d love to schedule as many games against them as possible.