It may be over; it may be just beginning.
After the White Sox took notable and on-field exception to the blatant bat flip by Tampa Bay’s Felipe Lopez last week, the teams squared off yesterday for the first time since the incident.
Most of the game was too close to reasonably expect retaliation, were it forthcoming. Through Lopez’s first three at-bats the Rays led by three or fewer runs—not nearly enough for the Sox to give them free opportunities to pad their lead.
When Lopez came to the plate in the eighth inning, however, it was 4-0. And with an 0-2 count, he blasted a pitch from Matt Thornton over the wall in left. (In all he went 3-for-4 with a double and the home run, the stat line of a clearly unmarked man.)
Perhaps 4-0 was too close for Ozzie Guillen’s tastes, or perhaps Thornton opted against furthering the confrontation, especially once he got two quick strikes on the batter. It’s possible that Lopez’s apology after the initial act diffused the situation entirely.
Still, there’s enough gray area here to merit keeping an eye on the situation through the rest of the series.