Remembering Matt Wise in Mike Fiers
By Bill Berg
Sep 11, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Mike Fiers (50) is restrained by pitching coach Rick Krantz after benches cleared in the fifth inning during the game against the Miami Marlins at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Fiers hit Giancarlo Stanton, the frontrunner for the National League Most Valuable Player award, in the face with a pitch tonight. Stanton crumpled onto the field and bled into the batter’s box.
It was a terrible scene to watch unfold, and Fiers was clearly upset and shaken by the events.
We’ve seen this before in Milwaukee. Before the 2004 season the Brewers signed pitcher Matt Wise and moved him to the bullpen. Wise pitched for the Brewers for four seasons from 2004-2007.
Wise was a good, but never dominating reliever. His ERAs for his four years in Milwaukee were 4.44, 3.36, 3.86 and 4.19 in 2007. But, in the 2007 season Wise served as the Crew’s set-up man for most of the first half.
On July 25, 2007, Matt Wise hit Cincinnati Reds shortstop Pedro Lopez square in the face with a fastball, breaking his cheekbone.
In his next appearance three days later, Wise gave up three straight hits and his only out recorded was a throw out at home. He came in again three days after that, and walked two batters, on just eight pitches.
Wise was in full tailspin mode. While he got at least 10 innings in each of the first four months of the season, the Brewers only let him throw four innings in August and four more in September. He was bad in each of those innings.
Wise blew a five-run lead against the Phillies on August 5, with Ned Yost saying “Wiser,’ I think, is still battling the after-effects of hitting that guy in the face. He’s not himself out there right now. We’re going to have to review it and go over it as a staff.”
He blew another game on Sept. 20, saying “I’m trying my best but it feels like I’m beating my head against the wall. It makes me sick.”
Wise told the New York Times (when he was with the Mets), “I wasn’t the same. Instead of focusing on the glove, I was making sure I didn’t hit the batter.”
After the season the Brewers gave Wise’s number to Eric Gagne and granted Wise his free agency. He threw seven innings with the Mets in 2008, but that was it for his career. Wise was never a great major league pitcher, but he wasn’t a bad reliever. Not until he hit Lopez in the face.
Obviously everybody here at Reviewing the Brew hopes that Giancarlo Stanton is ok, but the Brewers are going to need to help Mike Fiers too. Fiers was visibly upset at the events that unfolded tonight and we’ve seen this kind of incident ruin the careers of both the hitter, and the pitcher before.