Jurickson Profar was hit by pitches three times yesterday, and the third time, in the seventh inning, prompted Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister to yell at his Minnesota Twins counterpart Paul Molitor. Indications after the game from the Rangers clubhouse were that the Rangers thought the Twins purposely threw at Profar in his final plate appearance — the first two pitches were inside, but missed Profar, and he was hit by the third pitch.
T.R. Sullivan tweets a quote from Paul Molitor that seems to support that:
Twins manager Paul Molitor on Jurickson Profar getting hit a third time on Saturday: "We wanted to give him a chance to steal another base."— TR Sullivan (@Sullivan_Ranger) June 24, 2018
In case you weren’t following yesterday, the second time Profar was hit was in the fourth inning, with Texas up 9-2. Profar stole second base, and reportedly, the Twins dugout yelled at him about it, apparently thinking Profar broke one of the “unwritten rules” by running with his team so far ahead.
Molitor saying that they wanted to give him a chance to steal another base is about as close as a manager is going to come to acknowledging that the Twins hit Profar because they were mad he stole a base with a big lead. The ironic thing is that the Twins ended up coming back, and had the go-ahead run at the plate in the bottom of the ninth before Keone Kela was able to close out the win.
The Rangers could have retaliated yesterday, but didn’t. Maybe Bartolo Colon, today’s starter, throws at somebody, but it seems like if the Rangers were going to retaliate, it would have been in the immediate aftermath of the incident, not a day later. That said, its something to watch today.