The Miami Marlins and Milwaukee Brewers were cruising along in an otherwise uneventful game when a potentially devastating injury occurred to star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton was hit in the face by a pitch from Mike Fiers, who lost control of an 88 mph fastball that rode high and tight and beaned Stanton midway into a checked swing. Stanton was tended to and carted out for evaluation of a potential facial injury and probably a concussion from the impact.
What followed was even more controversial. Because Stanton had begun something of a swinging process and the bat had moved in a swinging-like direction, the umpires called the pitch a strike on Stanton. This is in line with Rule 2.00, which states that an umpire can call a strike if a batter is hit when he swings at a pitch. After Stanton was taken off, Reed Johnson was brought in to replace him in the lineup.
One pitch later, somehow, an almost exact same situation happens again. Fiers tosses another fastball that loses control, riding high and in on Johnson. Johnson checks his swing early and tries to stop it, but the ball comes towards his hands and hits him on the hand. In addition, the force of the attempt to avoid the pitch moved Johnson's bat through the strike zone, so not only was a second straight hitter beaned on a consecutive pitch by Fiers, but the pitch was also called a strike, leading to a strikeout.
The resulting emotions boiled over and the Marlins and Brewers cleared the benches. Garrett Jones was among the first out on the field of play, and he ran out and immediately barked at Fiers, who gestured back at him. Amid the scruff, Brewers pitching coach Rick Kranitz pulled Fiers out of the field of play. Also, Casey McGehee came out and yelled at the first base umpire for the call while manager Mike Redmond got in the crew's face for the two swing calls. The umpires promptly ejected both McGehee and Redmond, and the strikeout call stood. The Marlins' inning was finished.
Anthony DeSclafani came in the next inning and finished off the inning without incident, but he too would face the banhammer. With two outs in the sixth inning, Carlos Gomez came to the plate, and on the first pitch DeSclafani hit him on the elbow. That immediately prompted warnings and an ejection for DeSclafani on what could be construed as an attempt at a retaliation.
We will have more on this ongoing situation as it develops. Stay tuned to Fish Stripes for more!