Ross understands Contreras' frustration with Brewers
Willson Contreras has been hit by a pitch six times in the Cubs' last 11 games against the Brewers, going back to early last season.
So even though there was likely nothing intentional about Contreras getting plunked to lead off the ninth inning Tuesday, Cubs manager David Ross understood the reaction.
"Yeah, I think it was warranted," Ross said before Wednesday's series finale against the Brewers. "He's an emotional guy. I don't know that I would have reacted any different after what's happened and how many times he's been hit by that particular group. I thought it gave us a little spark and got the crowd on its feet. That's never a bad thing. We just didn't capitalize on it."
After getting hit on the left arm, just below the shoulder, Contreras angrily walked toward Brewers pitcher Brad Boxberger holding up two fingers. The previous day, Contreras was hit in the helmet by Devin Williams. The benches cleared Tuesday, but things calmed down quickly.
"I don't think in a 4-0 game with a leadoff hitter they were trying to hit Willson yesterday," Ross said. "I don't think Willson believes that. I don't think we believe that as a team. At some point, enough it enough. Whether it's intentional or unintentional, there's usually consequences to those things.
"Pitching in is important in baseball, you have to pitch in and sometimes you're going to mess up and hit a guy. But when it's consistent, emotions flare."
After the game, Ross expressed a similar sentiment in a slightly different manner.
"At some point, you have to be better," he said. "You can't just continue to try to pitch in and hit guys. You've got to be better."
For Wednesday's afternoon game at Wrigley Field, Contreras was given a day off, with backup Tony Wolters in the starting lineup for the first time since joining the Cubs just before the season. Wolters, 28, spent the past five seasons with Colorado.
Ross said the lineup decision had nothing to do with Contreras feeling the effects of being hit twice.
"He's caught every game up to this point," Ross said of Contreras. "Day game after night game's always tough from a catching standpoint. I'm really going to try to monitor his innings as much as I can and protect him and his body as best I can. So this was scheduled way in advance."