John Harbaugh never has been one to shy away from criticizing Boston sports teams, and the Baltimore Ravens head coach unsurprisingly backed the Baltimore Orioles in their ongoing feud with the Boston Red Sox.
Harbaugh brought up the growing rivalry between American League East foes at his media session Saturday, and came to the defense of Orioles starter Kevin Gausman, who was ejected during Wednesday’s game for hitting Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts with a curveball.
“It was a curveball. It was a curveball,” Harbaugh said, per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “It didn’t break.”
The pitch Gausman threw registered at 77 mph, which led Harbaugh to scoff at the need for an ejection.
“That’s a love tap,” Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh, who has thrown his fair share of barbs at the New England Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick, compared the Orioles-Red Sox rivalry to the one that has formed between the Patriots and Ravens.
“It’s Baltimore-Boston,” Harbaugh said. “That’s a pretty good rivalry.”
The bad blood between the Red Sox and Orioles began April 21 when O’s third baseman Manny Machado spiked Dustin Pedroia with a slide. Two days later, Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes threw a fastball near the head of Machado and promptly was ejected.
The rivalry continued to grow May 1, when Orioles starter Dylan Bundy drilled Mookie Betts. Red Sox ace Chris Sale then threw a 98-mph fastball behind Machado in the first inning of the following game.
The feud seemed to settle down after Gausman’s ejection, but we doubt we’ve seen the last of the fireworks between these two clubs.
Thumbnail photo via Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports Images