You might remember that before that game, a badly struggling Jordan Lyles was recalled from Triple-A to make a spot start -- and you might remember that Lyles scuffled once again in that contest, allowing six runs in just 2⅓ innings. But you might not recall the exact turning point of that game.
Lyles hit opposing pitcher Ryan Vogelsong in the face with an 0-2 fastball with the bases loaded -- an unfortunate incident that doesn't exactly scream "intentional" given the context. But Vogelsong is still highly irritated about the situation, mostly because he doesn't feel Lyles handled it well after the fact.
Lyles, now in a long-relief role for the Rockies, apparently did not attempt to contact Vogelsong until this past weekend, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal. The recent attempt "means zero" to Vogelsong, who is now a few appearances into a rehab stint for the Pirates.
From Rosenthal's piece:
"I know if I was the guy pitching on the mound and drilled someone in the face ... it could have ended my career. It could have blinded me. I could have never been able to be see out of my left eye again," Vogelsong said. "Even worse, it actually could have killed me, if it would have hit me in a little different spot. I think that deserves a text message, or a phone call, or something."
Vogelsong stated that three other Rockies players contacted him via text message following the incident. This certainly doesn't reflect well on Lyles and the Rockies, but I have a hard time believing that there was any ill intent on the part of the 25-year-old right-hander.
Lyles is a soft-spoken player who gives off the impression that he's sensitive; after losses, he's always available in the clubhouse despite being at times visibly upset. Rosenthal added a passage about Lyles that 100 percent adds up knowing what (admittedly little, in the grand scheme of things) I know about the young pitcher as a person and a professional:
Lyles, after reading Vogelsong's sentiments, sounded genuinely contrite, explaining that he did not know exactly what to do.
In May 2015, a comebacker by the Angels' Albert Pujols struck Lyles on the back of his pitching hand, forcing him to leave the game in the first inning.
Lyles, recalling that Pujols instructed the Angels' athletic trainers to convey his concern to their Rockies' counterparts, said that he tried to contact Vogelsong in similar fashion.
"I just went that route," Lyles said. "I didn't know exactly what the protocol was. To be honest, I didn't want to try to contact him and have him tell me to get lost."
Rosenthal added that matters were further complicated when Lyles was immediately optioned to Triple-A after the game in which the incident took place.
To me, it sounds like an unfortunate misunderstanding. It's hard to blame Vogelsong for being upset; when the injury first occurred, the overall feeling was that his career was in jeopardy. But now that he's seemingly making his way back to the majors, it may be time to let go -- or, at the very least, to try to put himself in Lyles' shoes.