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Major League Baseball players dream of the chance to take a break from trying to hit 98 mph fastballs – with movement – from big league pitchers.
The opportunity to tee off on a position player with little to no experience on the mound should make a batter’s eyes light up. It’s a perfect chance to pad stats.
For Cincinnati Reds’ shortstop Kyle Farmer, that opportunity came Thursday afternoon against the Chicago Cubs, and he failed with a big swing and a miss.
The Reds were leading 15-5 in the eighth inning of the series finale between the NL Central rivals. With the game out of hand, Chicago sent shortstop Andrelton Simmons to the mound to eat up some innings.
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Simmons’ uncorked a 44 mph “heater,” and Farmer came up empty.
Farmer eventually singled on a 47 mph fastball from Simmons on the third pitch of the at-bat.
The big whiff was a fun moment, but Cincinnati ended up getting the last laugh, pummeling Chicago 20-5 to split the four-game series.
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It was a series filled with fireworks. Cubs manager David Ross was ejected from back-to-back games, and the teams exchanged words throughout the series.
On Wednesday, Chicago reliever Rowan Wick went high and inside with a 93 mph fastball to Reds first baseman Joey Votto in the bottom of the eighth, resulting in Votto yelling at Wick on his way to first base.
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In the top half of the next inning, Cincinnati reliever Hunter Strickland hit Chicago third baseman Patrick Wisdom, resulting in Ross being ejected from the game after he came out to protest.
“Joey (Votto) walking toward Wick, them hitting Wisdom, two umpires wanting to discuss whether they thought it was intentional or not and nobody doing that, I just wanted to know why,” Ross told reporters after the game.
“Pretty commonplace when there’s a lot of jawing going on, that the umpires get together. They usually err on the side of warning.”
On Thursday, Wick and Votto were at it again, exchanging words after Wick struck out Votto in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Ross was ejected for the second time in as many games after Chicago catcher Willson Contreras was hit with a pitch in the seventh inning.
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“I’ll keep that between the umpires,” Ross said, according to The Chicago Tribune. “A lot of it just goes back to (Wednesday).”
The Reds and the Cubs have struggled out of gate with both clubs sitting well below .500 on the season.