I can’t decide which part to mention up front: the fact that this suspension likely won’t hurt the Cubs that much, or the fact it is a bit much.
As expected, Cubs pitcher Keegan Thompson was suspended by MLB for plunking Andrew McCutchen this weekend in (apparent) retaliation for the Brewers’ constant barrage of HBPs. It’s a three-game suspension. David Ross was also suspended for a game, and both were fined. I’m guessing Thompson’s teammates might kick in to help cover his fine.
MLB, notably, explicitly dubbed the pitch intentional:
Thompson, Ross suspended by MLB for Saturday’s events ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/Pa45erAEZd
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) April 11, 2022
You’ll recall that Ryan Tepera was suspended last year for throwing behind Brandon Woodruff in (apparent) retaliation for the Brewers’ then-also-constant barrage of HBPs (Ross was also suspended a game). He was initially suspended three games, which was later reduced to two games.
Thompson’s suspension might also later be reduced to two games, but it’s also possible that the continued history between these teams could make MLB disinclined to reduce the suspension. Either way, if he appeals and the Cubs can time his next appearance in the next game or two, it might not hurt them at all – as a multi-inning guy, there are times when he would sit down for three days anyway.
Once again, I am torn: I hate retaliatory plunkings, and while Thompson and Willson Contreras said this one was not intentional, I think it’s pretty hard to say that it wasn’t. It’s just so dangerous.
On the other hand, I’m so sick of the Brewers constantly hitting Cubs batters because they cannot command their pitches, and don’t care about the risks they are taking. This is how the Cubs say – after years of this – that enough is enough. It’s hard for me to argue against that, again, even as I hate the alternative, too. So mostly, I’m mad at the Brewers for putting the Cubs in this position (and, by the way, never having any consequences of their own).
UPDATE: As expected, Thompson is appealing his suspension. That means he’ll be available to the Cubs until the decision is made. I think there’s a chance we could see a decision by sometime next week, and there’s a decent chance it gets cut to two games. If so, Thompson’s suspension would then start immediately, and here’s hoping it aligns with him maybe having recently pitched a multi-inning outing, and thus having to sit down anyway.