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For better or worse, baseball has a self-policing mechanism, and it was on display on June 11 in Los Angeles. After Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke hit Arizona's Cody Ross on the hand in the fifth inning, Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy hit L.A. phenom Yasiel Puig in the nose with a pitch during the next frame. Throwing high at a hitter is a no-no, so Greinke plunked Arizona's Miguel Montero—but only after buzzing (and missing) him twice. That peeved the D-backs, reportedly because they felt that a pitcher should only get one shot at evening the score. So what happened? When Greinke came up in the eighth, he took one in the shoulder—and nearly the head—triggering what passes for a fight in baseball (lots of shoving, jawing and finger-pointing).
Who was in the right? Had Kennedy overstepped his bounds? Did Greinke have it coming? We asked former pitcher Al Leiter, now an MLB Network and Yankees analyst, to help sort it all out.
DID THEY HIT YOUR GUY FIRST?
Was an opposing hitter showing you up?
Are you getting raked?
DON'T DO IT
There's a school of thought that back-to-back homers should be followed with a heater between the numbers. Not so, says Leiter: "It's cowardly. Look, make better pitches. If you suck and can't get people out, maybe you should get a different job or go to the minors and figure it out." However, there is a time to come inside against guys who rough you up: "Guys who have good numbers against you are comfortable. Make them uncomfortable. Doesn't mean hit them. You come inside. Throw down in the zone, thigh high, and make them move their feet."