After a 2-1 fastball sailed over his head in the fourth inning, Whitecaps right fielder Pedro Cotto thought it would be a good idea to mouth off to 6-foot-5 Wizards’ pitcher Steve Delabar. The home plate umpire attempted to get between the two and as he was pushing Cotto back from the first base line Wizards pitcher Fabian Jimenez initiated a benches clearing brawl when he charged Cotto from the dugout.
After the bodies had been separated the Wizards lost four players (Fabian Jimenez, Alfredo Fernandez [both of whom were not in the game], Delabar and DH Kyle Blanks, who, inexplicably was somehow thrown out for attempting to play peacemaker.
When asked after the game what he did to deserve his ejection, Blanks was as mystified as anyone.
“I don’t know, I didn’t even see the umpire the whole time and was just kind of sitting there. Next thing you know someone tells me to go inside,” said Blanks after the game.
“Obviously in my opinion someone missed something.”
The Whitecaps got on the board first with an RBI triple by left fielder Michel Hernandez, scoring second baseman William Rhymes who walked earlier. Hernandez was then brought home on a single by catcher Dusty Ryan.
West Michigan scored two more in the third, but for the third straight day the big damage to the Wizards was done in the fourth inning. After Delabar was ejected because of the brawl, relief pitcher Nathan Skaggs came in and walked the batter he faced, substituting for Cotto, the only Whitecap ejected from the game, after inheriting a 3-1 count.
With two runners on, Rymes hit a three run home run over the right field wall, which was followed by Hernandez hitting another home run in the exact same spot.
After allowing another single, Whitecaps’ shortstop Mike Hollimon just missed hitting the third home run of the inning over right field, as West Michigan put four runs up on the board.
West Michigan scored two more in the top of the sixth and mercifully decided that they had done enough.
How bad a night was it for the Wizards, they gave up a run when catcher Nick Hundley overthrew relief pitcher Brandon Higelin. Yeah, it was that tough.
In the eighth, the Wizards staged a mini rally as left fielder Will Venable singled, followed by first baseman Daryl Jones’ third hit of the game, a double to deep center. Hundley then barely missed a monstrous home run to center field but he was able to bring home Venable on the sacrifice fly with Jones advancing to home on the throwing error by the shortstop.
When asked about the seeming inequity of losing four player to the Whitecaps one, in what seemed to be an equal opportunity brawl, Wizard’s manager Randy Ready didn’t believe it was the right call, but understood how people can get confused.
“Its difficult for the umpires to see everything that is going on, and all we try to do is get guys out of there and keep the peace,” the manager acknowledged.
He also elaborated on Delabar’s performance, “Stevie didn’t have great command tonight, and I know the ball was up around his head, but he doesn’t operate like that. He’s pitched great up until tonight, just didn’t have his best stuff tonight, his velocity was down and he wasn’t hitting his spots.”
“But he’s one of our go-to guys and he’s going to be getting the ball five days from now, he’s going to get the ball again.”