Miami Marlins superstar Giancarlo Stanton’s season came to an abrupt end when he was hit in the face with a pitch by Mike Fiers of the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday night. Stanton was carried off the field on a stretcher and taken to a medical facility in Milwaukee.
Benches would clear when Fiers hit Reed Johnson (who was pinch hit for Stanton) on the hand with a pitch. The following inning Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez was hit with a pitch by Marlins reliever Anthony DeSclafani who was promptly ejected.
Marlins manager Mike Redmond insists Fiers hit Stanton and Johnson intentionally. I understand Redmond being upset, but this is nonsense. The Brewers had a 4-0 lead in the fifth and Stanton was up with runners on first and third. Hitting Stanton would have loaded the bases and sent the tying run up to the plate. Although bizarrely the umps ruled that Stanton had swung at the pitch and would later rule that Johnson had swung when he was hit and ended up striking out.
The Brewers won the game 4-2. Milwaukee has spent most of the season atop the NL Central, but then lost 13 out of 14 games allowing the St. Louis Cardinals to overtake them. It was a crucial game for the Brew Crew. The last thing Fiers was planning to do was to plunk Stanton, Johnson or any other Marlin. He simply lost his command. Fiers will undoubtedly be burdened by this for a long time to come. As for the Brewers, tonight’s win was the first time the Brewers won back to back games in more than two weeks.
Giancarlo Stanton’s season ends with a .288 batting average and was leading the NL with 37 HR and 105 RBI. Stanton was a legitimate NL MVP candidate. Now his very future in baseball is uncertain. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery.
UPDATE: Stanton sustained multiple facial fractures, dental damage and required stitches.