Nyjer Morgan charges mound, incites brawl in Florida

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The same player who threw a ball at a fan in Philadelphia in mid-August, steamrolled an unsuspecting Cardinals backup catcher last week, and gave Marlins catcher Brett Hayes a dislocated shoulder on Tuesday night with a ridiculous hockey-like check at home plate is back at it again.

Nationals outfielder Nyjer Morgan started a benches-clearing clearing brawl on Wednesday night at the Marlins’ Sun
Life Stadium when he charged the mound after Florida right-hander Chris
Volstad threw behind him in the sixth inning. 

Morgan was hit by a Volstad pitch earlier in the night that served as retaliation for his cheap shot on Hayes, but the Fish took exception again when he stole second base and stole third base in a blowout. 

He headed straight toward Volstad after the pitch whizzed by him in the sixth, threw a punch to the pitcher’s face, then was clothes-lined by Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez. 

Volstad got a few grazing shots in on Morgan before Nationals third base coach Pat Listach jumped on the right-hander and held him to the ground.  Listach, while mostly serving as a peacemaker, is sure to see some discipline from Major League Baseball for interfering so violently with a player scuffle. 

Morgan was ejected and screamed at the fans in south Florida before making his exit, pumping his chest in pride.  Volstad was also tossed and is likely to be handed a lengthy suspension.

The Marlins have a series in D.C. in mid-September that should feature even more fireworks.

Bartolo Colon ain’t doing so hot this year

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If he wasn’t 44 years-old we’d just call it a slump, but the way Bartolo Colon is pitching right now makes you wonder if the end is nigh.

Colon was shelled this afternoon, giving up seven runs on ten hits and walking three in five innings of work to take the loss against the Pirates. That brings his ERA up to 6.96 on the year. He’s allowed five or more runs in five of his ten starts and opposing batters are hitting .320 against him. One of the big reasons he had been so effective into his 40s had been his low walk rate — he led the NL in this category for the past two seasons — but he’s walking more guys this year than last.

The Braves picked up Colon for the reasons a lot of rebuilding teams pick up veteran starters: to provide innings and stability until the younger arms of the future can mature. Colon, however, has been the weakest link of the Braves rotation.

At some point, every baseball player reaches the end. Almost all of them do it before the age of 44. One hopes, given his history and popularity that Colon is just experiencing a rough patch and that, by mid season, he’ll be reliably pumping strikes into the zone the way he has the past few seasons. But with each bad start he registers this year, that’s seeming like more and more of a stretch.

Braves designate Josh Collmenter for assignment

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Last night Braves reliever Josh Collmenter surrendered three homers and seven runs in the 10th inning of a loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He came into the game when it was tied 5-5 so, yeah, ouch. Today Collmenter is on his way to no longer being a Braves reliever as he has been designated for assignment.

Collmenter made 11 appearances for the Braves, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in 17 innings. If he doesn’t latch on someplace else he can take heart that his final act in the big leagues was striking out former MVP Andrew McCutchen. If only he hadn’t surrendered consecutive homers to David Freese, Jose Osuna and Jordy Mercer just before that. Oh well. Take the good with the bad.

Right-hander Matt Wisler, who has been no great shakes in the bigs himself, was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before today’s series finale against the Pirates. He’s currently throwing mopup duty for Bartolo Colon, who got shelled for seven runs in four innings.

Given how Colon is going, maybe the Braves will be thinking about some more transactions soon.