MILWAUKEE -- Maybe it's just a coincidence or maybe it's the result of a long, rough year for the Chicago Cubs, but for the second consecutive night a coach and player had heated words in the dugout mid-game.
On Tuesday night, during the Cubs' 4-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija and third base/defensive coach David Bell argued about defensive alignment. On Monday pitcher Edwin Jackson and manager Dale Sveum exchanged words.
"They were screaming a little bit on a strategy," Sveum said of Tuesday's incident.
Both Samardzija and Bell downplayed the incident.
"We were just talking strategy," Samardzija said. "Some mid-game stuff. ... It's competitive dudes, man. Trying to win a game."
Said Bell: "Some of the best teams I've ever been around and some of the best players I've ever been around, this stuff happens. Quite often.
"I love everything about this guy [Samardzija]. The way he competes and the way he cares and the way he goes about everything, it's going to make him a good pitcher for a long time."
The Cubs say the last two nights are isolated incidents as no one could recall any other confrontations either in front of or behind closed doors. Both confrontations were caught on camera.
Samardzija said maybe it would be different if these were issues of effort, but they're not. They're about frustration. And Aoki didn't end up scoring, so no harm, no foul.
"People care," Samardzija said. "Our record isn't where we need it to be and no one is happy about it."
Before the game, team president Theo Epstein praised Sveum for keeping his club together despite two tough years in the standings. Sveum says he knows it can look bad when there are problems two nights in a row.
"We've been fortunate not to have anything like that happen, but unfortunately, it was back-to-back nights," he said. "Tonight was really nothing."
Considering Samardzija has been around some volatile teammates -- like Carlos Zambrano -- in his Cubs career, he was asked where this incident ranks on a scale of 1-10.
"It's about a one," he said with a laugh.