LEADING OFF: Discipline on deck for Harper-Strickland brawl

Jackie Newman
May 31, 2017

Washington Nationals superstar outfielder Bryce Harper found himself in the middle of a fight at the pitcher's mound with San Francisco Giants' pitcher Hunter Strickland during Monday's game.

Take for example what occurred between Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper and San Francisco Giants pitcher Hunter Strickland yesterday. When Strickland didn't back down, Harper flung his helmet at him - missing badly - and charged at him.

Shortly after the blows were thrown, both teams rushed the field, making the mound look like a barbaric fighting gauntlet. My hope is that they appreciate that a pitcher holding a almost three-year grudge over a baseball player hitting a home run is more immature and damaging to the game than a batter losing his cool for a moment when the pitcher tries to hurt him. Harper punched Strickland in the head as the benches and bullpen emptied.

Their meeting on Monday was the first matchup between the two since that four-game series, and Strickland went into the at-bat with a plan. They have some history between them.

It took teammates Mac Williamson, Hunter Pence and George Kontos to drag the agitated Strickland off the field.

In Game 4, Harper again took Strickland deep and took his time rounding the bases while yelling at Strickland. 'My head was on a swivel, as quick as I could to not get taken out by somebody on their team or anything like that, ' he said.

The San Francisco Giants won their last World Series in the 2014 season when they beat the Washington Nationals in the first round, which led to some confusion as to why Strickland would still be upset over giving up a few home runs in the first round.

Hunter Strickland throwing at Harper because Harper hit a couple of homer off of him three seasons ago is about as weak as it gets.

With over two years having elapsed since the 2014 NLDS, any bad blood between Strickland and Harper would've seemingly dissolved.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy made little effort to defend his pitcher.

Harper said he didn't intend to fight anyone, especially over something that was "so in the past that it's not even relevant anymore". But Monday's was different, a brawl between two men, one of whom held a grudge, the other of whom is not afraid of a tussle. That's the first time I was certain that somebody was trying to throw at me. 'Harper gets hit and you look at a guy who's given up some home runs, and he'll tell you that he was trying to come in. "I think you can see from the way their teammates reacted, that was him taking a shot on his own".

Today, Harper stepped in against his old nemesis Strickland with two out in the eighth and took a 98 miles per hour fastball off the front hip. "You see Mike Morse is about as big as they come and he was getting knocked around like a pinball so it's a little unsafe to get in there sometimes".

Ryan Zimmerman hit his 14th homer, off Matt Moore (2-6) in the second.

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