Nationals Harper still ticked after being hit by pitch

  • Michael Prosser

Bryce Harper, seen here fuming after being hit by a pitch, is still upset (courtesy of Washington Post)

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 48 hours, here’s what you’ve missed in the now ongoing saga that is the Braves/Nationals rivalry:

Atlanta Braves left fielder Justin Upton hit a go-ahead home run in the bottom of the 8th in Game 1 of the three-game set in DC. With Upton taking a little bit longer than usual to trot the bases, Nationals phenom Bryce Harper decided he was going to do some trotting of his own. In Game 2, Harper took Braves rookie Julio Teheran deep to center field to put the Nationals up 1-0 (only to see Braves rookie Evan “El Oso Blonco” Gattis single in two runs in the top of the 5th). What happened next is the stuff rivalries are made of.

With Harper up to bat for the second time, Teheran nailed Harper in the thigh with an inside fastball. Intentional or not,

Harper, left, with Braves catcher Brian McCann, right and pitcher Julio Teheran after Teheran hit Harper (photo courtesy of Bleacher Report)

Harper was furious and charged the mound. Braves catcher Brian McCann stood up for his pitcher and started to get in Harper’s face. Benches cleared but no punches were thrown and warnings were issued all around.

Harper told CSN Washington’s Mark Zuckerman that he didn’t think what he did was wrong.

“Compared to what Upton did the first night, I don’t think so. [Brian McCann] is just trying to protect Teheran on that play and it’s all part of the game. I respect McCann for doing that to me and I really respect how he did it.”

The National’s free fall in the standings is well documented and with the Braves now up an impressive 14 1/2 games and Harper says that had the Nats been a bit closer in the standings, his reaction would have been MUCH different.

I don’t think I should charge the mound when they have a 14 1/2-game lead.  If we’re ahead a couple of games, I probably try and put him six feet under.”

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Bryce Harper is very talented superstar in the making. There is also little doubt that Harper’s temper has put him in this position before. Remember Ozzie Guillen yelled at him during a game against the Marlins and last season’s Cole Hammels issue. Were all three incidents intentional? That’s for the fan to decide. But if the Nationals are going to somehow crawl out of this funk they’re in, they need to have a full roster to do it.

The series finally ended with the Braves winning 6-3, their 13th in a row. Wilson Ramos flied out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th.

 

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Michael Prosser

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