After throwing a pitch “in the head area” of Manny Machado in the ninth inning on Wednesday night, Major League Baseball has suspended Nationals’ RHP Jonathan Papelbon three games for what has been deemed an intentional plunking. In addition to the three-game ban, he was fined an undisclosed amount.
With the Nationals not technically eliminated yet, Papelbon plans to appeal the suspension, keeping him eligible until their is a decision in the appeal process.
As for what sparked the situation, Machado hit a go ahead home run in the seventh inning when the Nationals and Orioles faced off in the Beltway Series Wednesday night. After he connected for his 30th homer, he admired it a bit, which Papelbon obviously took offense to.
In the ninth inning, when Machado came to the plate again, Papelbon threw a first-pitch fastball up and in that didn’t hit the Orioles star, but wasn’t too far off. He then came back with a breaking ball off the plate, which was then followed by the pitch that hit Machado in the shoulder/neck area. The benches cleared immediately.
Machado wasn’t too pleased with Papelbon following Wednesday night’s game.
“When you throw at somebody’s head on purpose, first pitch, straight out the get-go, then you throw a curveball, then you throw again at the head, that’s just bulls**t” Machado said after the game. “You know it’s coward stuff. It’s just coward.”
Papelbon has had a history of shenanigans like this and has been known to be a fiery competitor.
“They just said they deemed it intentional, and they didn’t give me any reason,” Papelbon said after the ballgame Wednesday. “I don’t know if they have to give me any reason or not, but perception is reality.”
When the Nationals acquired Papelbon from the Phillies at the trade deadline, he was supposed to help this team reach the postseason as a boost to the bullpen. Although since then, things have not gone as they expected them to go in Washington.