Cole Hamels decided to open his big mouth after his outing. It should cost him a five- or six-game suspension.
Hamels plunked brash rookie Bryce Harper in the first inning of Sunday night’s game against the Nationals and admitted afterwards that he was trying to send a message.
Here’s the quote from the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Gelb:
I was trying to hit him. I’m not going to deny it. It’s something I grew up watching. That’s what happened. I’m just trying to continue the old baseball. Some people get away from it. I remember when I was a rookie, the strike zone was really, really small and you didn’t say anything. That’s the way baseball is. Sometimes the league is protecting certain players. It’s that old-school prestigious way of baseball.
Hamels added that he had no intention of injuring Harper. After reaching first, Harper moved along to third on a Jayson Werth single and then stole home when Hamels made a pickoff throw to first. It was his first career steal. And there’s little doubt Harper was sending a message right back to Hamels when he tried it.
Hamels did get the last laugh from there. It was the only run he allowed in eight innings of work, and the Phillies won the game 9-3. In the third inning, he was hit in the leg by a Jordan Zimmermann pitch.
Since Hamels admitted to the intentional plunking, the league shouldn’t have any choice but to suspend him. It’s one of those cases where had simply said the pitch got away from him, nothing would have come of it.