- Cubs starting pitcher John Lackey and starting catcher Willson Contreras provided two of the most explosive ejections of the year after a missed strike three call.
Cubs starting pitcher John Lackey and catcher Willson Contreras were ejected during Chicago's Friday afternoon game against the Cardinals after fiery exchanges with home plate umpire Jordan Baker. Lackey was furious with Baker after his 2–2 pitch to starting pitcher Carlos Martinez was ruled a ball, though it appeared to clearly cross the plate above Martinez's knees. Martinez walked out of the batter's box assuming the pitch would be called a strike and looked clearly surprised that it was called a ball.
Baker didn't initially throw Lackey out despite the pitcher's protests even though the pitcher needed to be restrained by his teammates. Martinez, who entered the game hitting .185, singled on Lackey's 3–2 fastball, which gave the Cardinals a 2–1 lead. Before the play even ended, Lackey charged Baker to berate him with a host of expletives and was quickly ejected.
Catcher Willson Contreras provided an even more explosive follow-up after he was ejected, slamming his mask and hitting Baker in the leg.
Lackey is renowned as one of baseball's surliest and fiercest competitors, but his temper may leave him suspended as Chicago competes for a division title. Contreras may end up suspended as well after his mask struck Baker's leg.
The Cubs, who lead the Cardinals by three games in the NL Central, kicked off a pivotal three-game series on Friday at Wrigley Field.