You want answers, I’ve got answers, courtesy of sources familiar with the suspensions that baseball issued Friday for the Dodgers-Diamondbacks brawl.
• Why only 10 games for Diamondbacks right-hander Ian Kennedy?
Kennedy threw at Zack Greinke’s head after the umpires issued warnings to both clubs. It’s certainly fair to ask why Kennedy’s penalty likely will amount to him missing only one start.
Baseball, however, follows precedent in such matters, knowing that appeals are inevitable. Based on precedent, 10 games for a pitcher actually is quite harsh.
The last pitcher suspended 10 games was the Kansas City Royals’ Runelvys Hernandez in 2005; he hit three batters, including the Tigers’ Carlos Guillen in the head.
The Diamondbacks’ Miguel Batista also was suspended 10 games in 2003 for throwing a baseball at the Cardinals’ Tino Martinez as Martinez charged the mound.
• Why five games for the Diamondbacks’ Eric Hinske?
This one is interesting. Hinske was not ejected. On initial viewings of the video, he appeared to be a victim, getting struck with an overhead right hand from the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig.
The news release from baseball said Hinske was suspended for “leaving the dugout and his aggressive actions during the incidents.”
Hinske said he will appeal.
“Unreal, I can’t believe it,” he told me in a text message after learning of his suspension.
Dodgers left-hander J.P. Howell told the Los Angeles Times that Hinske’s suspension surprised him, saying, “He was actually being cool.”
According to a source, however, Hinske hit Puig first.
The video, when slowed down, shows Puig’s head snapping back at least two or three times, as if he was hit by a punch, the source said.
Puig was ejected for being an “instigator” in the brawl, the umpires said. But he did not make contact with Hinske, Puig’s punch getting blocked by another Dodger after his arm started forward, the source said.
When I told Hinske that a source said he hit Puig first, Hinske replied, “Watch the video.”
I wrote Thursday that Puig was out of control during the fight and that his conduct renewed questions about his makeup.
Well, if Puig was punched in the face after getting hit by Kennedy’s pitch in the nose, he had every reason to flip out.
• Why only a fine and no suspension for Greinke?
The umpires said after the game that Greinke hit the Diamondbacks’ Miguel Montero “on purpose.” But they did not eject Greinke, issuing warnings to both sides instead. A fine is the normal punishment under such circumstances, according to a source.
The better question is whether Greinke should have been ejected. The Dodgers would have howled in protest, but the plate umpire can use his discretion to take such action.
The plate umpire Tuesday night, Clint Fagan, was a replacement from Triple-A, working due to an injury to a regular major league umpire.
Some veteran umps would have ejected Greinke, some would not have, a source said. A more experienced ump might have met with both managers even after issuing warnings, sending a firm message, “No more of this.” But even then, who’s to say that Kennedy wouldn’t have thrown at Greinke?
• Why two games for the Dodgers’ Skip Schumaker?
Schumaker was not ejected. But he had Diamondbacks hitting coach Turner Ward in a headlock after Dodgers left-hander J.P. Howell rammed Ward into a railing, a source said.
Howell also received two games, with both players cited “for their aggressive actions during the incident.”
• Why only one game for the Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario?
Belisario, too, was cited for his “aggressive actions,” but he actually appeared to be one of the lead instigators, with umpire Larry Vanover saying afterward that the pitcher was “out of control.”
A source, however, said that Belisario only looked out of control, and that he actually didn’t do much of anything in the brawl.
Needless to say, this dispute isn’t over.
Additional appeals are likely from both sides.
“MLB must’ve used the replay technology from Cleveland to review the brawl, because they sure missed a lot of what was happening in the scuffle,” Diamondbacks reliever Brad Ziegler said on Twitter.
“It’s a joke that throwing at someone is viewed as so much worse than running off the bench, tackling people and throwing haymakers.”