With the Nationals trailing 9-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning Wednesday, rookie Taylor Hill hit Carlos Gomez on his left elbow. Gomez, who was wearing an elbow guard, took exception with the pitch and slid hard into second base on the next groundball. Gomez didn’t hurt or knock down second baseman Kevin Frandsen, but shortstop Ian Desmond wasn’t happy with Gomez’s actions. Gomez slid past the base with his feet out.
Desmond told Gomez how he felt following the inning-ending double play, and the two exchanged words. The benches cleared, but nothing came of the incident. After the game, however, Desmond had strong words for Gomez.
“I just told him I didn’t agree with the way he slid into second base with a seven-run lead,” Desmond said. “I’ve defended that guy in a lot of clubhouse arguments. I respect the way he plays the game but I got no respect for that. If he thinks he got drilled on purpose by our pitcher making his major league debut, to take it out on a guy who has grinded his butt off to make a major league career in Kevin Frandsen, what if he potentially ends his career right there.
“In a World Series game, you slide like that. In a seven-run differential game, there’s no time for that. If you’re going to defend that, I’ve got no respect for you to defend that.”
Desmond said Gomez told him it was a clean play, and the shortstop said he disagreed. Gomez’ s playing style has rubbed some players the wrong way. He has a reputation for showboating, and his bat flips have led to brawls with the Braves last year and the Pirates this season.
On Wednesday, both benches cleared, and players and coaches gathered around second base. Manager Matt Williams stepped into the middle of the mass of bodies and tried to separate both sides. Desmond started to walk away but stopped when Brewers third base coach Ed Sedar ran by and told him Gomez “got drilled.”
“I said, ‘That’s fine, by a pitcher making his major league debut who’s flying open all game, who is a little hyped up,’” Desmond said. “What would be the purpose at intentionally hitting him right there? Because he just swung at the same pitch the at-bat before and got a hit. You’re talking a matter of inches, the difference in that pitch and the pitch he hit before. I don’t seen any justification for that.”
Added Hill: “I was just trying to go inside. There’s no intent there. Part of the game. Didn’t do it on purpose.”
Second base umpire Mark Wegner stepped in between Desmond and Gomez. Desmond was pulled away by Ryan Zimmerman. That was the closest either side came to any physical altercation. Williams said after the game that he thought Gomez slid past the bag. The Brewers believe the play was clean.
“Just Gomey going in hard to second base,” Brewers Manager Ron Roenicke said. “And he did go in hard. You get hit with a ball, you get a little adrenaline going, and you’re going to go in hard. It was a clean slide. It was right at the bag, so I didn’t have a problem with it.”