Javier Baez explains why he stared down Hunter Strickland after go-ahead hit
Javier Baez delivered the go-ahead hit for the Chicago Cubs in their NLDS-clinching win Tuesday night, and you may have noticed how he blatantly stared down San Francisco Giants pitcher Hunter Strickland after he rounded first base. Apparently there was a reason for that.
When asked about the icy stare after the game, Baez offered a simple response:
Baez on why he celebrated a little extra after that last hit: "Their pitcher was staring at me for no reason." #Cubs
— Steve Greenberg (@SLGreenberg) October 12, 2016
Baez knew the hit was a potential series-clincher, but his enthusiastic clapping right in the direction of Strickland made it clear there was something else going on. As Dayn Perry of CBSSports.com notes, Strickland brushed Baez back with a pitch during Game 3 after Baez seemed to admire two balls he hit hard in previous at-bats. Baez and Giants reliever Sergio Romo also exchanged words following a strikeout during that game.
The tension may have started in Game 1, when Buster Posey took a jab at Baez over the young shortstop admiring a home run.
Whatever the case, the Giants and Cubs won’t have a chance to smooth things over until 2017. Thanks to a remarkable comeback in Game 4, Chicago is heading back to the NLCS.