Davey Johnson told reporters last night that he hoped the Atlanta Braves' pitchers weren't hitting Bryce Harper on purpose. "I hope not, because it's ridiculous in a close ballgame," Johnson said. "And they've got a lot more to lose than we do at this point, and so it would be a ridiculous thing to be doing." He didn't, however, think the two HBPs were intentional, explaining that the situations weren't right for purpose pitches. "One time he got hit with a breaking ball," the 70-year-old skipper said, "and that's obviously not an attempt to throw at him. And in that situation [the second], they've got their best left-hander out there and for him to hit him in that situation didn't make a whole lot of sense."
The second one, by Braves' lefty Luis Avilan looked like it hurt more than the curve starter Alex Wood hit Harper with early in the game. Harper caught the second in the back of his right arm/shoulder when he turned to avoid the pitch which was thrown behind him. Avilan told reporters afterwards that he had not hit the Nats' outfielder intentionally:
Avilan on Harper: "I feel bad for him, especially because I don’t want to hit him in that part of the body. It was a bad day for me."— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) August 17, 2013
The 20-year-old slugger looked to be in pain, but took his base and stayed in the game. Apparently that second hit by pitch caused enough damage that Harper, who was originally penciled into tonight's lineup, was scratched about two and half hours before the start of tonight's game:
Bryce Harper scratched with left triceps bruise from where Avilan hit him last night.— Dan Kolko (@masnKolko) August 17, 2013
Davey on Harper now missing game because of HBP: "I'm not happy about it and I know everyone in [clubhouse] isn't happy about it."— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) August 17, 2013
That said, Davey insists if Nats were to retaliate, it won't be on his orders.— Mark Zuckerman (@ZuckermanCSN) August 17, 2013
Davey: "I've never order a pitcher to go after anybody, but we have a way to protect our own."— Amanda Comak (@acomak) August 17, 2013
When Jayson Werth was asked about the pitches that hit Harper last night, he declined to comment publicly, telling reporters, "That's one of those things that we take care of in-house and that's just part of the game. I'm not going to speak publicly about it."
It was, of course, the third time Harper's been hit in the last four games with the Nats' NL East rivals. Braves' starter Julio Teheran hit the Nationals' 2010 no.1 overall pick during the series in Washington last week in which Atlanta took three straight games. There was no retaliation from the Nationals in that series.
• Here's the Nationals' updated lineup:
Davey's Revised Lineup, Sat @ ATL: Span cf, Rendon 2b, Zimmerman 3b, Werth rf, Desmond ss, Ramos c, Moore 1b, Hairston lf, Strasburg rhp— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) August 17, 2013
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