Strickland Seeks Revenge After Injury

Harper is not happy after being drilled in the hip, creating a bench-clearing brawl on Monday, May 29.

Ethan Hurlburt, Columnist

Major League Baseball has suspended Washington Nationals Bryce Harper for three games for charging the mound after being hit by a pitch on May 29 against the San Francisco Giants. He was also issued an undisclosed fine.

Harper was up at-bat in the eighth inning when he was drilled in the hip with a 98 mph fastball by Giants reliever Hunter Strickland. Strickland, however, received a six game suspension and an undisclosed fine for exchanging punches with Harper as well. Harper and Strickland were both ejected from the game, but the Nationals still won 3-0.

Harper will be eligible to return for Sunday’s game against the Athletics, but Harper wanted to serve the suspension immediately to make sure he was eligible to return for their three-game series with the Dodgers next week in Los Angeles. The Dodgers, who have been playing well, are currently 33-22 overall, and beat the Nationals in the NL Division Series last season.

As for Strickland, he is still waiting for a resolution on his appeal. With both players planning to appeal, the suspensions weren’t to begin with Tuesday night’s game.

This was the second time Harper has been suspended in his major league career. Last season, while playing against the Detroit Tigers, Harper was upset at the umpire, yelling as his teammate, Danny Espinosa, struck out. After Washington won the game, 5-4, Harper went out to celebrate with his team, and to confront the umpire.

However, many things that stem from the past always seem to find their way back. The feud between Harper and Strickland dates back nearly three years, when Harper homered twice against Strickland back in 2014 during the National League Division Series between the Giants and the Nationals. The Giants then went on to win 3-1 to win their third World Series in six seasons.

Despite the bad blood, Harper doesn’t hold more than he has to against Strickland, saying that “[Strickland] hit me in the right spot, so I do respect him for that. He didn’t come up and in toward my face like some guys do, so I respect him on that level.”

Harper leads the National League in home runs and runs scored. He is hitting .337 with 41 RBI this season. The teams don’t meet against until Aug. 11 in Washington.