In the Phillies’ win over the New York Mets last Friday, it was a bench-clearing confrontation that served as the highlight of the game. With two on and two out at the top of the eighth inning, locked in a one-run ballgame, Phils reliever José Alvarado struck out Dominic Smith for the final out of the frame.
Understandably excited about escaping the high-pressure situation with runners aboard, Alvarado wasn’t shy in letting Smith and the Mets know how he felt. Immediately after striking him out, Alvarado made gestures towards Smith, insinuating that the Mets batter talks too much. Smith didn’t take too kindly to the excessive bravado, which led to a lot of chirping between the two and the subsequent bench clearing.
Although the scuffle didn’t result in much aside from some name-calling and trash-talking, the league felt it was severe enough to warrant punishment. Today, Major League Baseball came down heavy by suspending Alvarado for three games. For their part in the altercation, Mets players Dominic Smith and Miguel Castro were fined but will not serve suspensions.
Alvarado, who boasts a 1.13 ERA on the season, will appeal the three-game sentence. He will likely have a fairly strong case to back him up. The left-handed reliever certainly didn’t have to taunt Smith, but it’s a bit hard to believe the league saw his actions as harmful enough to pass down a multi-game suspension, especially since everyone else involved received nothing more than a fine.
Hopefully, his appeal is successful, and he learns from the slap on the wrist from the league. If not, the Phillies may have to do battle without one of their best relievers.