While the New York Yankees were gearing up for a game against the Oakland A’s, the Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders were in the headlines for all the wrong reasons during their game against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
After a poor start to the game by Nick Nelson and Nick Goody, record-setting righty Luis Gil was charged with eating up most of the innings. Gil inadvertently created a combustible situation when he threw very hard right near the head of recently demoted third baseman Alec Bohm.
The umpire warned both benches after a lengthy staredown, but that did little to calm the tense atmosphere. If anything, it escalated from there.
After striking Bohm out, Gil proceeded to retire top Philadelphia Phillies prospect Mickey Moniak, flexing as he walked off the mound. The IronPigs were finally able to get their shot at retribution afterward, and they kicked off one of the nastiest scrums we’ve seen at any level of organized baseball this season.
Relief pitcher and 2017 Astro David Paulino hit catcher Max McDowell right in the side of the helmet with the first pitch of his at-bat. Wasting no time, McDowell let the expletives fly, charging the mound in order to get at Paulino.
He was quickly subdued by the IronPigs’ catcher, but by that time, both benches had cleared with the intent of separating McDowell and Paulino. At least both parties were able to be separated before some punches were thrown and someone got hurt.
Yankees minor leaguer Max McDowell kicked off a massive brawl.
Lehigh Valley came out on top 10-5, as the early hole that Nelson and Goody dug for the RailRiders with their control issues was too deep to climb out from.
Soon after, McDowell released a statement on Twitter in which he claimed that “without a doubt, this was done purposely.” McDowell claims that this is the second time this season Paulino has headhunted like this, and he hopes that the league will do everything in their power to discipline him.
As exhilarating as these fights may look on Twitter, and while McDowell had reason to be furious with Paulino if that pitch was intentional, it’s never a good look when an entire team gets thrown into a melee like this.
Both sides should be happy that no future Yankees or Phillies were hurt in this skirmish. With the RailRiders welcoming the Buffalo Bisons, Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate, to Scranton on Tuesday, there isn’t a chance for both teams to reconcile in the near future.