Baseball fans everywhere gasped Thursday night as they witnessed potential MVP candidate Giancarlo Stanton get drilled in the face with a pitch.
The scene erupted when Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Mike Fiers threw an 88 mph fastball that hit Stanton, who seemed to swing in defense, right in the jaw. The umpires would later call that pitch a strike, but in the meanwhile, Stanton was lying on the ground, in pain. The call was made for a cart and Stanton was carted out of Miller Park, conscious, but with blood gushing out.
The Miami Marlins announced that Stanton had suffered a facial laceration that required stitches as well as dental damage. However, no surgery would be needed. His season is now over.
Outfielder Reed Johnson came in as a pinch-hitter for Stanton and was immediately hit by Fiers as well. The umpires also called that a strike, ending the inning. Both benched cleared. Casey McGehee was very fired up on the Marlins side. Fiers looked crushed and was taken out of the game.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Marlins relief pitcher Anthony DeSclafani retaliated and hit Carlos Gomez in the elbow with a fastball and was ejected. However, Gomez kept his cool and nonchalantly walked down to first, understanding why DeSclafani had hit him. He remained uninjured.
Former White Sox pitcher Brian Omogrosso shared his thoughts on the situation with Cover Those Bases.
"Sad to see what happened to [Giancarlo] Stanton and am surprised they called it a strike. [The] pitcher's nerves got the best of him on the next pitch. Pitchers aren't perfect. Still have to be able to pitch in."
Following the game, Mike Fiers tweeted his support for Stanton.
"@Giancarlo818 my thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. I feel horrible and hope for a speedy recovery."
Stanton himself tweeted that he is thankful for the support.
"The amount of support I have received from you guys has been tremendous & Heartfelt. I'm much better today & deeply appreciate your prayers!"
The MVP candidate becomes the second Marlins' star to go down to serious injury this season, after Jose Fernandez had to have Tommy John surgery earlier this year.
On the season, Stanton is hitting .288/.395/.555 in 638 plate appearances with a National League leading 37 home runs and 105 runs batted in. He also leads the league in walks, with 94 free passes on the year. The 24-year-old slugger recently became the Marlins all-time home run leader and was in position to be their first MVP and home run crown winner. My support is with Stanton on a speedy recovery.