Reliever Matt Capps was suspended 4 games for his actions against the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday. Capps plunked Prince Fielder on the elbow, and was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez. Jim Tracy was not happy at the time. Neither was Capps.
Sure, Capps had just given up a homer to J.J. Hardy, only the 2nd run he's allowed this year. He plunked Fielder, the next batter, on a rising inside fastball that caught the 1st baseman on the elbow. The ball looked like it could be going towards Fielder's head, but was deflected when Prince raised his arm.
I was perturbed with how quickly Capps was ejected from the game. I'm no fan of the "I'm gonna warn both benches" tactic, and if an ump is going to warn a team, it means he thinks they are in the wrong. Ejections are a much better way to deal with intentional hits.
With that being said, an ejection and 4 game suspension plus an undisclosed fine was a little overboard for the hit on Fielder's elbow. Capps had just given up a home run, and needed to reestablish his control over the inside of the plate. Sure, the ball was high and inside, but it wouldn't have hit Fielder's head. The only reason it hit Fielder's elbow was because Prince flailed his elbow out when he saw the ball coming inside. Fielder is a smart player. The guys in the booth couldn't stop talking about that fact for the entire series. He was shown paying attention to the littlest of details, and we were all treated to his superior knowledge of how the game is supposed to be played (blah, blah, blah). Any batter coming up after an "insurance" home run knows that the pitcher is probably going to come inside with the next few pitches. As soon as Fielder saw the the pitch coming, his elbow went up, and he dramatically spun around to the ground, staring at Capps.
Marquez wasted no time, and ejected an obviously heated Capps. Jim Tracy seemed upset with the swift ejection, and Capps ran his mouth the whole way to the dugout. Here's Capps' take on the situation:
I had him 0-and-1," Capps said. "So he had a quick hook. Obviously, stuff
like that is a judgmental call on his part, and I'm not going to question what
he did. I have to show him I can pitch inside. If they don't like it, that's
their problem. I'm going to continue to throw the ball on the inside part of the
The Pirates look to Ian Snell to help the team get back on track tonight versus the Cubs. Snell is following up his worst performance of the season from this past Wednesday, when he allowed 4 runs on 4 hits. He also walked 4, threw a wild pitch, and hit a batter (and wasn't suspended for 4 games). The Buccos face Ted Lilly, who the Pirates touched up for 5 runs and 9 hits over 5 1/3 innings on May 1st.