Ian Kennedy shouldn’t be allowed to take the mound for a long, long time after the way he acted on Tuesday night when the Diamondbacks fought the Dodgers—literally.
Kennedy entered Tuesday seeking his fourth win in what has been a disappointing season for him thus far. While he didn’t earn a victory, he certainly earned himself a lengthy suspension.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, after Adrian Gonzalez popped out, rookie sensation Yasiel Puig stepped into the box to face the right-hander. He was 0-for-2 on the night and hoping to get a pitch that he could put in play to start a rally to cut into a two-run deficit.
What he didn’t expect to receive was a 1-2 fastball at his head.
The pitch from Kennedy ran high on Puig, and appeared to hit him right in the cheek. Whether it was intentional or not is still unknown, but Kennedy was allowed to stay in the game.
Things got testy in the top of the next inning when Zack Greinke hit Miguel Montero in the back. Benches cleared and both sides were warned.
Kennedy showed his displeasure with the Montero plunking in the bottom of the seventh when Greinke came up to hit. Kennedy ran a fastball up and in to Greinke, drilling him in the head area.
Then all hell broke loose.
Benches cleared, fights ensued and umpires made ejections.
Hitting Puig earlier in the game may have been a mistake; it is possible that the ball could’ve just slipped out of Kennedy's hand. He has had control issues all season long, and is one of the NL leaders in hit by pitches.
But the Greinke at-bat was no mistake—it was intentional.
Now, Major League Baseball needs to figure out a way to punish Kennedy.
There has been one situation this year that was somewhat similar; in fact, it also involved Greinke. The Dodgers were playing the Padres, and after Carlos Quentin got hit by a pitch, he charged the mound and a brawl ensued. Quentin ended up breaking Greinke’s collarbone, and he would be forced to miss a few weeks.
After the Greinke-Quentin fight, there was a lot of talk as to how long Quentin should be suspended for. Some felt that a few games would suffice, while others felt that Quentin should be suspended for as long as it took for Greinke to take the mound again.
Fox Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi said that Quentin deserved to be suspended for a month. The league, however, gave the Padres outfielder eight games. For what it’s worth, Greinke missed about a month of action while recovering from the broken collarbone.
So after about a month and half, here we are again.
How long should MLB suspend Kennedy for after intentionally hitting a pitcher near his face—the second batter he hit up high on the evening?
ESPN's Jim Bowden says 10 games.
ESPN’s Dave Schoenfield believes two weeks fits the crime:
Kennedy should face a harsh suspension; a short one that pushes his next start back a day or two won’t be enough. Give him 15 days and make him miss two starts. It’s one thing to throw at a guy; it’s another to throw at somebody’s head; especially when retribution had already been made.
Schoenfield couldn’t be more correct; I think that a 15-game suspension is what Kennedy deserves at the minimum.
I can’t see the league suspending him for a month; that would be much too severe even though he did one of the most bush-league things a pitcher can do on the field. Missing one start isn’t going to send a message.
And yes—a message must be sent.
While neither Greinke nor Puig were injured by their respective plunkings, they were both put in dangerous situations where Kennedy was entirely at fault.
Bud Selig needs to step up to the plate and hit Kennedy with at least a 15-game suspension.
That would show him how it feels to get hit hard.