Dominic Smith said if Jose Alvarado wants him, he can come get him in the tunnel before Saturday’s game.
Alvarado gestured and jawed at Smith after striking him out with two men on to preserve a one-run lead and end the eighth inning in Friday’s 2-1 Phillies win. It caused both benches to clear, and they’d clear again in the next half-inning when Miguel Castro threw two pitches well inside to Rhys Hoskins.
Like usual in these cases, there were no punches thrown, just a lot of back and forth bickering. It will make for one interesting weekend.
“Him pointing at me, coming after me, I’m a grown-ass man, come meet me then if you’ve really got a problem and we can really handle it,” Smith said after the game. “He waited for his team to grab him. I’m right there. He can meet me in the tunnel tomorrow if he really wants to get after it.”
Smith said he didn’t understand what Alvarado was saying to him, but he obviously understood what Alvarado meant.
There was carryover from the Phillies-Mets series earlier in April when Alvarado was wild and hit Michael Conforto on the second of two straight pitches up and in. Smith yelled at Alvarado from the dugout that afternoon and Alvarado appeared to gesture back that it wasn’t intentional and mocked Smith’s anger.
“He felt some type of way because I yelled at him when he went up and in and hit Conforto (on April 13). He hit four of our guys,” Smith said. “Like their manager said, if you can’t throw strikes, you shouldn’t be in the big leagues.”
Smith is misremembering the situation because Alvarado didn’t hit four players. He hit Conforto on April 13 and Jeff McNeil on Friday night.
Smith does have a bit of a point when referencing what Joe Girardi said Wednesday night after Cardinals left-hander Genesis Cabrera hit Bryce Harper in the face and Didi Gregorius in the ribs. After that game, Girardi was still pretty raw and shared his honest opinion that a pitcher who lacks control to the degree that he’s endangering his opponents should be tossed.
The situations aren’t quite the same, though. Alvarado hit McNeil in the elbow guard Friday night, not the head or the ribs. And it’s well-established that Alvarado is effectively wild and uncomfortable to face. That discomfort is part of what makes Alvarado so good, as he’s been this season with a 1.13 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in eight innings with 13 strikeouts.
“I said a couple of explicit things, but I’m ready, I’m walking towards you, you’re walking toward your bench," Smith said. "If you’re gonna mother-f me and follow me, then come get me. That’s all I was saying.”
Alvarado is the Phillies’ top lefty reliever and Smith is a potent left-handed bat for a division rival, so rest assured this won’t be their final encounter of 2021.