Astros: Mike Fiers suspended and Jake Marisnick to miss 6-8 weeks
By Eric Huysman
The Astros lose their secret weapon in Marisnick and Fiers loses his cool.
If yesterday’s 9-1 loss versus the Angels wasn’t bad enough, the Astros got bad news this afternoon. Mike Fiers started last night’s game in place of Lance McCullers who is dealing with arm fatigue. Fiers was removed from the rotation when the Astros traded for Justin Verlander.
Yesterday, he got the opportunity to prove that he still belongs in the rotation. Instead, he lost control of the game and his anger. Typically a mild-mannered guy, Fiers did have words with A.J. Hinch last year. Maybe Fiers is fierier than we thought after all.
Fiers loses his cool.
Former teammate Luis Valbuena hit a homer in the first inning of Fiers. When Valbuena was with the Astros, I remember fans marveling at his epic bat flip. He does it more often than just when he homers. It’s his thing.
When Valbuena homered last night, he did a bat flip and celebrated with his teammates after scoring. The homer drove in two of the five runs that Fiers allowed in the first inning. Fiers was clearly frustrated, but all he could think about Valbuena’s bat flip.
After the game, Fiers told the media that he felt that bat flip was disrespectful. Later in the fourth inning, Fiers threw a pitch above the head of Valbuena. The umpires issued warnings to both sides after that incident. After the game, Fiers admitted that he was trying to send a message, but not trying to hit him.
According to Brian McTaggart, MLB officials disagreed with Fiers, and they have suspended for five games. Everyone was surprised by Fiers throwing over Valbuena’s head, himself included. Valbuena mouthed the word “seriously!” Fiers was just frustrated and lost his cool. He will not appeal, according to Jake Kaplan.
That wasn’t the bad thing because Fiers wasn’t really part of the playoff picture. Was that the last we see of Fiers in an Astros uniform? Probably not, but he is a non-tender candidate this offseason. The bad thing was an injury to a semi-key player.
Say it ain’t so Jake!
Jake Marisnick got one of the few hits for the Astros last night. The ball got past C.J. Cron and Kole Calhoun, so Marisnick tried to get the extra base after pumping the brakes. This caused him to slide awkwardly into second base, fracturing his right thumb.
He would leave the game in the bottom of the third inning. At the time, we weren’t sure how serious it was. The Astros were bracing for the bad news, McTaggart reported that Marisnick would miss 6-8 weeks.
That would mean that Marisnick would be out until maybe the ALCS or World Series. But neither will matter if the Astros don’t win in the ALDS with Marisnick. This makes the Cameron Maybin move look like a big deal. Marisnick or Maybin was supposed to be the pinch runner or third outfielder.
Next: Who will be on the mound for the Astros to open the 2017 playoffs?
This opens a space on the roster for possibly a Derek Fisher or Tony Kemp. Marisnick was having a career year, but one aggressive decision has shut him down for a while. Let’s hope Brad Peacock gets the Astros back on track tonight.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***