Sometimes there is bad blood between old teammates. But do not enter the right Jorge Lopez of the Orioles and the Rays outfielder Brett phillips. The test came in the fourth inning of the Orioles’ 5-4 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field on Saturday, when Lopez and Phillips were involved in a reaction of a basis per hit like no other that you have seen.
It happened when Lopez hit Phillips with a 95 mph fastball into the right shoulder area, causing Phillips to turn angrily toward the mound. For a second, it looked like Phillips would charge at Lopez, who put both hands to his head on the pitch as plate umpire Nick Mahrley raced toward Phillips just in case things heated up. That was until Phillips’s face fell and he walked to first base while smiling as if to say, “I’ve got you!”
They were both able to laugh afterwards, which made it the best simulation of loading the mound. “Brett Phillips is like a brother to me,” Lopez said. “We grew up together. He’s fun and a decent guy. I didn’t want to hit him, but he knows me. “
“He was one of my favorite teammates,” said Phillips, known for his laugh, whose video went viral five years ago. “Obviously, he didn’t do it on purpose, and when they hit me, I was like, ‘You know what? I’ll have a little fun with this. ‘ So I immediately turned around. I was like, ‘Do you want to fight me?’ And I said it with a smile on my face, but the referee and the receiver couldn’t see that I was laughing, so I said, ‘No, no, no, no, no, no!’ I was like, ‘No, I’m just playing, this is my boy, this is my boy!’ “
In the end, it was a lighthearted moment on a day when the Orioles suffered their fourteenth consecutive loss on the road, a new club record. And it makes sense given the history between Phillips and Lopez, who came together in the Brewers system and were part of the same trade: the Royals for Mike Moustakas on the 2018 Trade Deadline.
Both found their way to new teams in 2020, Lopez through an exemption claim to Baltimore and Phillips through a trade to Tampa Bay. The pitching hit marked the fifth meeting between the two, with Phillips 0-of-4 against Lopez.
“When [Phillips] He first took that jab step, I thought, ‘Oh man!’ ”said O catcher Austin Wynns, whose fifth-inning grand slam represented the entire Baltimore offense. “But it was all fun and games.”
Joe Trezza / MLB.com