Well, Zimmermann said no, and Kilgore said “his assertion is plausible.”
Hamels was trying to sacrifice bunt with a man on first. Typically, intentional beanings don’t come when you can put a man into scoring position. Zimmermann hit Hamels in the leg, and it’s common for pitchers to try to make a bunting pitcher move their feet. If Zimmermann wanted to retaliate, he would have made the message more clear by hitting Hamels higher up. Finally, the proper retaliation probably would have been to hit Shane Victorino, the Phillies’ No. 3 hitter.
Heck, the Philly Daily News’s David Murphy made the identical point:
[Hamels] did end up getting hit with a pitch, although Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann said it wasn’t his intent to do so (which makes sense, since hitting Hamels moved a runner into scoring position with one out when Hamels was content to give up an out to bunt said runner over).
You know who isn’t buying this? Philly manager Charlie Manuel.
Here was his breakdown of the whole mess on MLB Network Radio.
“I felt like when [Hamels] got hit, when they retaliated and they hit him — I mean, the guy said that he wasn’t throwing at him. You know, I don’t believe that. And usually, baseball-wise, that should have been a wash. The teams should have been even there. That’s kind of how I looked at it. I mean, he hit their guy and then they hit him. It should have been left there. But all of the sudden, with all of the hoopla about it, everything just blowed out big and they made a lot out of it.”
As for the initial plunking, “That’s what old-school baseball was about,” Manuel said Monday night. “But evidently, we definitely don’t play that way no more.”