In the eighth inning of Monday's game between the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants at San Francisco's AT&T Park, Giants pitcher Hunter Strickland slammed a 98-mph fastball into Bryce Harper's hip, in their first matchup since Harper smacked two home runs off of Strickland in the 2014 MLB playoffs. Harper, and almost everyone else watching, viewed the hit as intentional.
"Strickland hit Harper so hard the ball flew into the air and landed halfway up the first base line, so flush that one could not mistake intent, though of course the perpetrators in these cases rarely admit that they had it planned," writes Chelsea Janes at the Nats' hometown paper, The Washington Post. Harper charged Strickland, throwing his helmet and then throwing punches. "In that situation," Harper said after the game, "you see red."
And in slow-motion:
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It isn't clear why Strickland would hold a grudge against Harper for three years, or what perceived injury Harper caused him, especially when the Giants went on to win the 2014 World Series. Strickland denied any retaliatory intent, saying his goal was simply "to go inside." After the punches started flying, "it took four of his own teammates to carry him off the field, one grabbing his leg to render him immobile, removing him from the fray like one might a petulant child," the Post's Janes said. The Nats won the game, 3-0.
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