By now, most Major League Baseball fans — and I would certainly assume all Boston Red Sox fans — have heard of the suspension that MLB has ordered on Red Sox pitcher Brandon Workman. Just in case some one has missed it, though, Workman has received his suspension for throwing at the Tampa Bay Rays’ Evan Longoria on May 30. MLB.com’s Ian Browne reported the news on June 3.
The pitch in question was an 89-mile-per-hour fastball that went behind Longoria’s head. See the pitch, the immediate ejection, and Workman’s reaction below.
The pitch itself may not have brought forth a suspension considering the rain, a possibly slippery ball, and 2-1 score in the 6th inning. However, a review of the evening’s earlier activities will help bring about further understanding.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Rays’ David Price drilled Boston’s Mike Carp with a 93-mph fastball in the shoulder, causing benches to clear and tempers to flare from both dugouts, but nothing physical happened — just a lot of words thrown in both directions. Red Sox acting manager Torey Lovullo was ejected for arguing about the fact that Price remained in the game.
Why did Lovullo argue? Why was he even the acting manager? Back up even more. In the bottom of the first, Price drilled David Ortiz below the waste in what appears as retaliation for Ortiz’s staring at his second home run that he hit off Price in the ALDS last October.
Both benches received warning. Red Sox manager John Farrell argued that his pitcher — Workman — should have a chance to retaliate for the Ortiz incident. Farrell was ejected right then.
So, is Workman’s suspension fair? If his incident was the only one, then I would say yes. I agree that if the umpire judges that Workman intentionally threw at Longoria — especially head-high — then the suspension is justified. However, what about Price? The main argument is not that MLB penalized Workman but that MLB let Price off so easily at the same time.
This is where the argument gets tough. I fully believe that Price hit Ortiz intentionally. I am not convinced that he absolutely tried to hit Carp, but I do believe Price wanted to buzz him, and Price hit Carp up high. Price had his warning, so the umpire should have ejected him right then. Workman claims that he did not throw at Longoria, but the umpires believe he did — hence the ejection.
Workman will appeal, meaning that he pretty much will decide when he serves his suspension. A suspension for a starting pitcher means little anyway. At most, he would very likely miss one start, and everyone could forget the suspension ever happened. If workman stayed in the bullpen, then he could get a few extra days of rest.
That situation, however, is not the point of this particular instance. In essence, Workman probably threw at one hitter and missed. He got ejected, fined, and suspended. Price hit two batters, one after a warning and the other with definite intent, but he stayed in the game. He received no penalty of any kind. That ruling is the unfair one.
TOP PHOTO CREDIT: (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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