Michael Morse on concussion list after collision with Jeff Samardzija in brawl
- Author: Salvatore Jensen Jun 01, 2017,
Jun 01, 2017, 21:51
Harper's eyes were wide as he flung his helmet - it wasn't close to Strickland, it might've slipped, helmets are hard to throw accurately - and they started swinging away.
Supposedly, the objective of this pitch was Strickland's payback for Harper hitting two home runs off the Giants reliever in the 2014 National League Division Series - a series the Giants won in four games.
Harper later expressed incredulity that Strickland could still be nursing a grudge. Strickland, meanwhile, is a decent relief pitcher, but not someone overly integral to the success and failure of the San Francisco Giants.
Nationals manager Dusty Baker said of the fight "We're not here to brawl". "Whatever they say goes and I'm just going to worry about the four games I got and see what I can do". In our mind, it was not a team act but a selfish act on his part.
Washington won the opener 3-0 in a Memorial Day contest in which Nationals star Bryce Harper charged the mound after Giants reliever Hunter Strickland plunked him in the right hip with a pitch in the eighth inning.
It's possible that this Giants vs. Nationals brawl could lead to something else taking place in the series between the teams. Calixte also played all three outfield positions after beginning the game in left. Baseball Senior Vice President Joe Garagiola Jr. typically hears player appeals. "It's their call. We'll go from there". Whatever they ultimately decide, Ill own it and take the responsibility..
Instead, the helmet slipped out of Harper's hand and traveled in the direction of first base.
The key takeaway from Monday's plunking and benches-clearing brawl was this: Strickland acted alone when he purposely hit Harper in the right hip with a 98 miles per hour fastball, still holding a grudge for Harper's two homers (and reactions rounding the bases) in the 2014 National League Division Series. After Harper's second homer, which he hit out the stadium, he stared Strickland down as he rounded the bases.
Harper clearly wasn't totally focused on the Tuesday game, having been badgered with more questions beforehand.
But here is why I think this is such a problem for the San Francisco Giants - Strickland is becoming a team problem.
The fact of the matter is that plenty of pitchers have moved on from much more egregious things in much shorter time frames, but for whatever reason, Strickland just wasn't able to.
There have been several theories floated: 1) Posey let Harper go because he thought Strickland was in the wrong; 2) Strickland, who has a history with Harper, wanted to fight him and told Posey to stand down (a source told this to Fox Sports); 3) He simply spaced. Harper punched Strickland in the head as the benches and bullpen emptied.
"Probably only Martin Luther King or Gandhi would have turned the other cheek and not done something reactionary", Baker said.
Strickland, who had hit just four batters in 136 1/3 innings in his four-year career before the pitch to Harper, said his intention was merely to go inside.
"You either go to first base or you go after him, and I chose to go after him", Harper said of his decision to charge the mound. "I'm very thankful for Mikey Mo".
It took three large teammates to drag the agitated Strickland off the field after the fracas, which featured a brief toe-to-toe between the combatants, both landing glancing blows to each other's face. "I mean, that's the prime time to hit somebody if you're going to hit them, it looked like it was intentional to me", he said. "That's never a worry of mine". Posey stayed out of the way for a few seconds and then sprinted toward the mound when things started to get ugly.
"I wasn't sure what was going on, but I think (the Giants) were definitely shocked at the situation, shocked that he would do something like that three years later", Harper said.