Giants starter Madison Bumgarner hit Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun with a 2-0 fastball in the bottom of the sixth inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Milwaukee. The Brewers bench and both teams’ bullpens emptied in a lackluster fashion. Braun was having some words with catcher Nick Hundley, as he was not happy about being hit by a 92 MPH fastball.
The first pitch Bumgarner threw to Braun was a brushback fastball, up and in. Bumgarner then threw a high fastball for ball two. Braun and Bumgarner jawed at each other briefly. On the NBC Sports Bay Area broadcast, a replay showed Braun apparently saying something to the effect of, “Throw the ball, man,” after Bumgarner said his piece. Then Bumgarner clipped Braun with the third pitch of the at-bat. Given the situation, it’s hard to say concretely that Bumgarner wanted to hit Braun, but he at the very least wanted to throw another brushback pitch.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell, pitcher Wade Miley, and catcher Jacob Nottingham were each ejected by home plate umpire Tom Hallion, who issued warnings to both benches after the incident. Counsell was particularly unhappy with Hallion’s decision to issue warnings and got into a rare heated argument following his ejection.
After order was restored, Bumgarner gave up a go-ahead grand slam to Jonathan Schoop. Overall, Bumgarner yielded five runs on four hits and a walk with four strikeouts across six innings against the Brewers.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.