Angels pitcher Noé Ramirez was suspended by Major League Baseball for three games for plunking Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick Tuesday night. This is MLB determining that the beaning was intentional and, notably, hitting Ramirez with a longer suspension than the one given to Marisnick for bulldozing and injuring Jonathan Lucroy.
According to ESPN, the punishment was for “throwing a pitch in the area of [Marisnick’s] head,” and included a fine of an undisclosed amount. Angels manager Brad Ausmus was also suspended for one game, and though Ramirez will avail himself of the appeals process, Ausmus, as a manager, will have no choice but to serve his. Per MLB.com, Ausmus said MLB considers the beaning “an egregious offense on the field,” and since he’s “in charge of the players on the field and the players in the dugout,” he understands the suspension. Ramirez’s teammate Andrelton Simmons, apparently committed to the highly suspect explanation that the HBP was the result of an honest mistake, called the punishments “bullshit.” Per the ESPN report:
“I think it’s bullshit. People get hit all the time. He can’t make one mistake I guess? Just because of the perception? So if Marisnick got hit at any point throughout the season, whoever touched him was going to get suspended? Is that what it means?”
Neither team is real happy right now. The Angels say MLB’s suspension of Ramirez goes too far. For their part, the Astros were furious about Marisnick’s plunking—not so much that he was hit, but that the pitch was upstairs and that it came after a couple of sliders, on a 1–1 pitch. And Astros manger A.J. Hinch was irked that Ramirez wasn’t ejected or even warned for what he considered an obvious act of retaliation. Per the Houston Chronicle:
“If they felt the need to defend their guy, that’s fine,” pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. said. “But I think the way that it was done was horseshit.”
“He knew he was going to get hit. Our guys talked about it, their guys talk about it,” Hinch said. “This was not a surprise. I wish they would have handled it better. It was too high. If they’re going to hit guys, they need to hit guys the right way. They don’t need to throw two bullshit sliders and then throw a guy a neck ball. That’s not right.”
Hinch implied to the Chronicle that the team would wait to see if there’d be discipline from the league before deciding whether his team needed to retaliate according to the usual unwritten rules of baseball. Hopefully this settles that. If MLB came down a little heavier than usual on this one, perhaps there’s a chance it will end the cycle of violence once and for all. This being baseball, you never know.