It started with a heated exchange in the top of the 6th between Fernandez and Johnson after the Braves’ third baseman popped out. Between innings, Miami’s starter sounded off in the dugout, and emotions were running high through the rest of the inning. It could have been left at that, and it should have been. After Fernandez hit it out, he lingered at the plate, pushing some buttons. The trot that followed certainly did not seem to help. By the time he arrived at the plate, McCann had some words for the pitcher, and despite the home plate umpire getting between them, it was not enough. With Fernandez’s back to the field, Johnson ran up the line and Miami’s bench was quick to follow. It was enough to summon the bullpens, but Fernandez had peeled away from the ruckus before the reinforcements arrived. Placido Polanco was seen holding Johnson back, who was still hollering and seemed to be the only party involved who had really taken issue with Fernandez’s miscue.
Here’s the video of the home run and the ensuing “scuffle”
Was Fernandez at fault?
Not really. He’s a rookie pitcher who’d hit his first career home run during his last start of the season. A season, by the way, in which he’s dominated and produced some of the best rookie pitching numbers ever seen. He stood at the plate and watched it go, the expression on his face expressing more pleasant surprise than smug arrogance. Maybe he took his time around the bases, but baseball doesn’t expect pitchers to do much more than lumber around the basepaths. As a veteran catcher, McCann did the right thing in letting Fernandez know his behavior wasn’t exactly great sportsmanship. Johnson’s dash towards the plate was absolutely uncalled for, an egregious overreaction even with the heated exchange between himself and Fernandez earlier. Miraculously, no violence erupted and no ejections were issued for either team, and play resumed amicably. Fernandez’s home run was overshadowed in the moment but given the stellar year he’s having on the mound and at the plate, it will have simply made the milestone all the more memorable.