Give me a freakin' break! According to DOB, Braves lefty reliever Jonny Venters has been suspended four games and fined for throwing at wee little Prince Fielder, and Bobby Cox was also suspended one game. What a crock of Sh!%.
Apparently it was because he threw "two consecutive pitches" at Fielder. This is just dumb by MLB, and an overreaction to a situation that was blown way out of proportion by the Brewers. Why would Venters be throwing at Fielder? No one on the Brewers has ever explained that. Shouldn't MLB at least address the reason other than "two consecutive pitches."
Just silly, and it could have a big impact on the pennant race. With Eric O'Flaherty on the disabled list, this takes away our top left-handed setup man for half a week. Hopefully they can appeal and get it reduced.
Please, someone, explain to me why Venters was throwing at Fielder (other than the fact that he's a really large target, and one could argue that his gravitational pull actually attracted the ball towards him).
To add a bit of insult to injury, I'm 90% certain that Bob Watson, a former Braves player, is the MLB executive in charge of issuing suspensions.
UPDATE: Okay, I just went and watched every at-bat Fielder had in the series after looking at this chart:
I would expect the Braves to pound the four corners of the strike zone against Fielder, especially high-and-inside... and after watching every at-bat that's exactly what they did. All but one of his hits came on mistake pitches in the middle of the zone, but we got him out high-and-inside and low-and-away. And we did a pretty good job of it as Fielder went 4-for-16 in the series, though he did hit two homeruns, again on mistake pitches in the middle of the zone.
When the book on a player says to pitch him high-and-inside, that's what a team is going to do. Sometimes the guy is going to get hit, especially someone like Fielder who dives into the ball. Fielder had already been hit 12 times coming into this series, now he's been hit 14 times, which ties his career high, and currently ranks third in the National League.
This suspension is essentially saying that teams cannot pitch Prince Fielder inside unless the pitcher on the mound has pinpoint control, and that's just so rarely going to be the case. Venters obviously didn't have his control with him when he came in the game. That's why Bobby went to Brewers manager Ken Macha the next day and told him this wasn't intentional. If it was intentional, Bobby never would have gone out of his way to talk to the opposing manager. This further adds to the silliness of the suspension. I'm incensed.