Major League Baseball announced this afternoon that Washington Nationals’ slugger Bryce Harper has been suspended for four games and San Francisco Giants’ reliever Hunter Strickland has been suspended for six games for their respective roles in the on-field brawl in Monday’s game in AT&T Park.
You knew some sort of discipline was coming for Harper and Strickland after Monday afternoon’s on-field brawl in AT&T Park, which followed a 98 mph purpose pitch from Strickland directly to Harper’s left hip.
Harper pointed at Strickland on the mound, tosses his bat aside, removed his helmet, lost his grip on it as he went to throw it at the pitcher, and after tossing it away, hit Strickland with a few punches and took a few himself before both benches cleared.
Harper and Strickland were ejected, and both players and their managers discussed the possibility that there would be discipline after the game.
Strickland denied hitting Harper intentionally, telling reporters he’d given up homers by Harper in the past (two in two at bats) and was trying to avoid allowing a third.
“I’ve left the ball over the plate a couple times to him,” Strickland said, “and he’s taken advantage of that, so just mostly go inside and obviously I got it in a little bit too far.”
“If anybody should get suspended, I think their pitcher should get suspended,” Baker said, “not our [player]. Ours was reacting to being hit, so...”
Bochy said he didn’t know what to expect in terms of discipline.
“Who knows, you know. It doesn’t look good,” he said. “A guy gets hit. But also on their side, Harper was throwing a helmet and [Strickland] has got to stand his ground, he’s got no choice there, so I can’t tell you what’s going to happen.”
While questioning Strickland’s motivation, in seemingly retaliating for Harper’s home runs in the postseason all the way back in 2014, Harper said he appreciated that the pitch wasn’t thrown at his head.
“One thing I’ve got to say about Strickland, he hit me in the right spot,” Harper said.
“I do respect him for that. He didn’t come up and in at my face or anything like that, which some guys do. So I respect him on that level, because he could have came up and in and got me somewhere you don’t want to get hit. He got me in the hip. But there’s some times where it’s just not relevant.
“That was a spot where it wasn’t relevant. It was three years ago. Over 1,000 days, I guess you could say. I don’t know why he’s thinking about it. He’s got a World Series ring. It’s on his finger, and he can look at it every single night he wants to.
“There’s nothing to be thinking about the first round for. We were out and they were playing Kansas City in the World Series.”
Strickland held a grudge, apparently, and it cost him six game. Harper’s response will cost him four, though he is appealing the suspension.