Jonathan Papelbon gets three-game suspension for ump bump

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A rather severe penalty for an incident that was actually incited by the ump.

Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was suspended three games and fined for bumping home plate umpire Tony Randazzo after being ejected from Saturday’s game against the Athletics.

Papelbon is appealing the penalty and will be available to pitch tonight.

Papelbon has maintained that he was talking to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and not Randazzo during the exchange that led to Saturday’s incident.  After Papelbon turned around, Randazzo stepped out from behind home plate and took a couple of steps towards the mound, shouting back to Papelbon.

As soon as Randazzo made that move, it was a given that Papelbon would be ejected.  There was no other way it could have played out.  Papelbon, of course, took the invitation and went chest-to-chest with Randazzo.  He didn’t appear to intentionally bump Randazzo at any time, but there was definitely some contact.

Given the circumstances, Papelbon would seem to have a pretty good chance of getting the penalty reduced.  Randazzo was just as much of a hot-head as he was, and there was no obvious intent to bump (or grind) on Papelbon’s part.

Justin Verlander earns 200th career win

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Astros starter Justin Verlander wasn’t his usual dominant self on Sunday against the Athletics, but he was good enough to get the win. In doing so, he earned the 200th win of his career, becoming the 117th member of the 200-win club.

Verlander went 5 1/3 innings, yielding four runs (all earned) on seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts. On the season, Verlander is now 12-8 with a 2.65 ERA and a 223/29 K/BB ratio in 169 2/3 innings. Sunday’s win helped the Astros stave off the surging A’s. The Astros now have a one-game lead in the AL West.

Only two active pitchers have more wins than Verlander: Bartolo Colon (247) and CC Sabathia (244). Zack Greinke will likely be the next member of the 200-win club as he currently has 184 to his name.