Hoskins torments Mets at plate; pitcher ejected, suspended after throwing behind him

March 31st, 2024

NEW YORK -- is still the Mets' nemesis, even in a Brewers uniform.

A day after the new Milwaukee slugger's hard slide into second baseman Jeff McNeil sparked a benches-clearing standoff between the Brewers and Mets on Opening Day, Hoskins' rivalry with New York only got even hotter.

Hoskins tormented the Mets at the plate all game long on Saturday -- and was at the center of another heated exchange with the Mets that resulted in reliever Yohan Ramírez being ejected for throwing behind Hoskins and Ramírez and Mets manager Carlos Mendoza both receiving suspensions before Sunday's series finale.

Hearing heavy boos from the Citi Field crowd every time he stepped to the plate, Hoskins responded by delivering the biggest swings of the game in a 7-6 Brewers win over the Mets -- including crushing his first home run as a Brewer and ripping a two-run single on the very first pitch he saw in the game.

"I'm a competitor, right?" Hoskins said. "People boo you, people doubt you, people do whatever they do. It's always nice to prove people wrong."

Hoskins' home run was a 107 mph rocket to deep left field off Luis Severino, with Hoskins hop-stepping into his home run trot after he connected and pointing out toward the stands as he rounded the bases. When Hoskins got back to the dugout, he did a "crybaby" celebration with his Brewers teammates -- the same gesture he directed at McNeil from the dugout as they exchanged words across the field on Friday.

"We'll see [if I keep it]," Hoskins said. "Really all it is is some guys having fun. It seemed to work today, so if we keep winning, we might have to keep it there."

And that was just the beginning.

With Hoskins having a monster day in the batter's box, Ramírez whizzed a 94 mph fastball behind Hoskins' back on the first pitch of his at-bat in the seventh inning.

It prompted a standing ovation from the Citi Field crowd.

Hoskins immediately dropped his bat and stalked out in front of home plate, staring down Ramírez, before looking toward his own dugout with his hands on his hips.

"Big leaguers don't miss by eight feet," Hoskins said after the game.

He continued after a long pause: "Yeah. Whether it was on purpose or not, that's not for me to decide. I really don't care. But this game has had a way of policing itself for many, many, many years. So let's focus on doing it the right way if we're going to do that."

Hoskins said he was not expecting any retaliation from the Mets after his Opening Day slide. And Ramírez said the pitch was not intentional.

"I was trying to throw my sinker inside, and sometimes when I try to get it too in, the ball just runs, honestly," Ramírez said through an interpreter. "With this type of weather, I don't have the grip that I'm accustomed to having. At that point, the ball just ran. But I wasn't trying to hit him."

The benches didn't clear this time. But Hoskins did exchange more words with the Mets before the situation settled, gesturing vehemently toward the New York dugout.

Brewers manager Pat Murphy wasn't happy either. He came out to protest Ramírez's pitch with the umpiring crew -- and after conferring, the umpires ejected Ramírez from the game.

"It's just really simple: Your player has a history with a team, and all of a sudden, balls are going over his head," Murphy said. "There's a history there, and we had an altercation the day before, and one goes over his head … Albeit, I bet it wasn't on purpose. I bet it wasn't. But I'm trying to protect our guy.

"I didn't suggest they throw him out of the game. I just said, 'Hey man, I don't want people getting hurt.' That's the whole thing. We can all be mad, and we can all have our opinions about how you play the game. But the bottom line is, I don't want guys getting hurt."

Ramírez said he was surprised by the ejection and was trying to explain himself to the umpires.

"But they didn't really care what I was telling them, and they did what they had to do there," Ramírez said.

Mendoza also reiterated that his reliever was not trying to go after Hoskins.

"He definitely was not trying to hit him," Mendoza said. "I understand the frustration with everything that's going on, what happened yesterday and things like that … We're down four, runner at first, two outs. I know it looks really, really bad, but we're not trying to hit anybody here."

On that front, Hoskins also said "It seems to be bad baseball on their part" if the Mets were risking a wild pitch in that situation. He went on to walk on four pitches that at-bat after Jorge López replaced Ramírez.

Hoskins finished the game 3-for-4 with the home run and four RBIs.

He said he's not sure if the early-season feud with the Mets is over.

"I don't know. I don't really care, to be honest," Hoskins said. "I'm gonna come here and try to win a ballgame tomorrow. That's it."

Mendoza said he hopes it is.

"It should end there," the Mets skipper said. "It's not like we're trying to hit him. But what happened yesterday with the slide was legal. Our job was to get him out, and we didn't do a good job today."

On Sunday, MLB announced that Ramírez had been suspended three games for intentionally throwing at Hoskins, and Mendoza was suspended for one game. Ramírez is appealing his suspension, while Mendoza elected to serve his in the series finale against the Brewers.

Hoskins is in his first season with the Brewers, but for the last seven years, he was at the heart of the Mets-Phillies National League East rivalry. This isn't the first time tempers have flared between Hoskins and the Mets -- and it isn't the first time Hoskins has gotten his revenge with a dramatic home run.

On April 24, 2019, when Hoskins was with Philadelphia, he memorably homered off Jacob Rhame a day after the Mets reliever had thrown a high fastball behind his head. Hoskins took a home run trot that lasted over 34 seconds.

"He is one of our pillars," Murphy said. "Rhys is a special dude. He's not just a really good baseball player. He's really committed to playing the game the right way, and he's really committed to leading."