Clear Shoals in Cubs-Brewers after RAPs; X-rays on Happ’s knee are negative

The Cubs beat the Brewers at Wrigley Field in Thursday’s opener, 5-3, then won Saturday’s game, 9-0, to move to 2-0 on the season. The Brewers won Central last season while the Cubs finished with their worst record since 2013, so the results are at least mildly notable – while also acknowledging there are 160 games left to play – but something maybe more exciting for casual baseball fans happened later.

It didn’t start here, and we’ll get to that, but here is Cubs reliever Keegan Thompson hitting the Brewers’ Andrew McCutchen and clearing some benches.

There was a lot of hubbub around. Thompson was ejected. Jason Heyward drove a straight from center field. Lorenzo Cain was up front for the Brewers. Some of the most heated conversations took place between Cubs wide receiver Willson Contreras and the Brewers, including members of their coaching staff. This is where we find the root here and pull a bit.

Contreras was hit by a pitch Thursday and again Saturday. Those two give him 15 career hits at the hands of the Brewers. No other team has hit it even half as much. These two teams have often been at odds with this stuff, in general, for years too.

Also, in the half inning preceding the above smash (and we’re using that word loosely here, as it was more of a rally), Cubs cleanup hitter Ian Happ was dived in the knee and had to leave the game. It was a breaking ball and clearly unintentional, but it seems like teaming up with the Contreras stuff and recent history in general was when the Cubs decided enough was enough.

“I don’t think there was any intention on anybody’s hits today except one,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said after the game (via Bally Sports Wisconsin), alluding to Thompson’s pitch as intentional. “I think both sides will tell you that. The benches clear when someone is intentionally thrown, and that’s what happened today.”

Either way, probably the most important thing to do here is to move on and play some baseball. The two teams meet again on Sunday with Marcus Stroman picking up the ball for the Cubs against Freddy Peralta of the Brewers.

As for all of this affecting the action on the pitch, Happ received x-rays on his knee and said they were negative. Happ thought he was a big part of the Cubs’ path to success this season after finishing 2021 hitting 0.323/0.400/0.655 in his last 44 games last season. He’s had the cleanup in their two games so far this season and he’s 5 for 7 with .778 on-base percentage, two doubles, four RBIs and three runs. Losing him early would be a blow, even if it’s only for a few games, so it’s a situation to watch.

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