Darling on Werth Drilling: ‘Boy, Was That Obvious’

Werth drilledWhy Frank Francisco drilled Jayson Werth on Thursday is not yet clear. That it was intentional—and stupid—was obvious to at least three people: Werth, Bryce Harper and Mets broadcaster Ron Darling.

It came with no outs in the eighth inning, on a 3-0 fastball, after Francisco had already allowed doubles to the first two batters he faced, extending Washington’s lead to 5-2. (The Nats ended up winning, 7-2. At this point, frustration is as good a guess as any when it comes to pinpointing Francisco’s motivation.)

Werth knew it was intentional when it happened. So, apparently did plate ump Anthony Recker, who, despite the fact that Werth made no move toward the mound, grabbed the barrel of his bat as he lingered near the plate, staring at Francisco.

“Boy, was that obvious,” said Darling on the broadcast. “For you folks at home—and you hear me all the time say, ‘That wasn’t intentional’—well, this one was intentional.”

Darling was then asked by broadcaster Gary Cohen why Francisco would drill a batter in that situation.

Darling’s reply: “Because he’s a fool.” (Watch it here.)

Werth wouldn’t comment after the game, but handled things in the moment, taking out shortstop Reuben Tejada moments later with an aggressive slide at second base. Harper, who reached on a fielder’s choice, did something similar to second baseman Daniel Murphy.

(The idea was summed up by Bob Brenly in The Baseball Codes: “I’ve gotten on first base when I’ve been hit by a pitch and told the first baseman, ‘If there’s a ground ball hit I’m going to fuck up one of your middle infielders, and [pointing to the mound] you can tell him that it was his fault.’ That’s a way you can get them to police themselves. A pitcher drills somebody just because he feels like it, and if one of the middle infielders gets flipped out there he’s going to tell the pitcher to knock it off. Ultimately, that’s all we want anyway—just play the game the right way.”)

“That was total B.S. what Francisco did there,” said a scout in attendance, in a Washington Post report. “Almost got his shortstop’s ankle broken.”

Sure enough, Nationals pitchers never retaliated. If Werth’s slide wasn’t enough for them, they’ll have to wait until next year to address the issue, because the teams don’t meet again this season.

Update (9/16): At least one Mets pitcher wasn’t too pleased.

(H/T BLS)

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3 Comments

Filed under Jayson Werth, Retaliation

3 responses to “Darling on Werth Drilling: ‘Boy, Was That Obvious’

  1. Scooter

    I’m a Nats fan. I watched the Darling clip about 3 times last night. Man, he lit into Francisco, didn’t he? He also said that Francisco almost “got [Tejada's] career ended.” Maybe a touch dramatic. But it’s fascinating that several people have mentioned Francisco endangering Tejada, and not one word about Werth doing so. The Code in action. (Also, on Harper’s slide on the next play, I swear you can see the second baseman flinch.)

    By the way, Anthony Recker is the Mets’ backup catcher. Here, I looked it up: according to http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYN/NYN201309120.shtml the home plate ump was something called Jim Reynolds. (The Wash. Post’s blog post on the matter had a noun missing, implying that Recker was both catcher and umpire. Which might be fun, but it would certainly make the 3-0 count to Werth even more frustrating for the pitcher.)

  2. this is the latest in stupidity for frank francisco. he will soon be a non-met and it will be interesting to see if anyone picks him up next season

  3. Jason Turbow

    A 33-year-old right-hander with a 10-plus ERA? I’m guessing not …

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