LEADING OFF: Discipline on deck for Harper-Strickland brawl

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After Hunter Strickland drilled Bryce Harper with a 98 miles per hour fastball - and after Harper charged the mound and exchanged swings with Strickland - the pitcher told reporters that he was just trying to pitch inside and didn't hit Harper on objective.

The pitch connected, Harper was immediately displeased, and after motioning with his bat broke into a full sprint towards the Giants fireballer, pausing only briefly to take off his helmet and crow-hop to get a few extra miles an hour on the protective device he clearly meant to hurl back at the aggressor. They have some history between them - in the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland, and the All-Star outfielder glared at the reliever as he rounded the bases after the second shot in Game 4. This was the first time the two had met since and, what a coincidence, first-pitch fastball, bam.

It was the first meeting between the two men since the 2014 playoffs, when Harper blasted Strickland for two consecutive home runs. As his teammates flew over the dugout railing, Bumgarner stayed put, perhaps because the left-hander is still recovering after injuring his pitching shoulder and ribs in a dirt biking accident in April.

Washington went on to win 3-0. "That was three years ago, a thousand days I guess you could say".

"He knows he can't beat up everybody who hits a home run off of him", his manager, Bruce Bochy, said after that season.

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For every game Harper gets, Strickland should get at least 10 - and that still wouldn't be equitable. "Those are some big guys tumbling around on the ground.it'll be a little risky to get in there sometimes", he said.

The Giants went on to win the World Series, which made Harper and the Nationals wonder why Strickland would fixate on a mini-beef earlier that October. He also risked injury in charging the mound; who knows what can happen in one of those pileups on the mound? "It's so in the past that it's not even relevant anymore".

Undoubtedly, Harper is going to get a stiff fine and some kind of suspension for his actions. Strickland is a big boy and he chose to handle things himself, and he shouldn't need Posey to protect him.

Only three runs crossed the plate on Monday afternoon in San Francisco, but there were plenty of fireworks.

Right-hander Tanner Roark pitched seven shutout innings, and the Nationals defeated the Giants 3-0 in a game interrupted by a benches-clearing brawl that resulted in Harper's ejection. During Game 4, Harper stared down Strickland while round the bases as the Giants reliever had some choice words for him. You have two guys who don't care for each other too much. I wasn't really going up there thinking that. Washington logged eight hits and walked once with Ryan Zimmerman clubbing his 14th homer and scoring twice while Daniel Murphy went 2-4 and knocked in two runs.