Nationals rookie steals home in retaliation
Cole Hamels hit Bryce Harper in the backside. AP
Yep, this is a rivalry. Get on board.
After losing two straight games to the Washington Nationals this weekend, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels had seen enough. Hamels took matters in to his own hands by sending a deliberate message to the NL East leading Nationals that the Phillies had enough. With two outs in the first inning and nobody on, Hamels pegged brazen rookie Bryce Harper in the backside with a fastball on his first pitch to the kid. Harper took first base without issue, but would later make Hamels pay for the incident.
“I was trying to hit him,” Hamels said [via Washington Post]. “I’m not going to deny it. That’s just — you know what, it’s something that I grew up watching, that’s what happened, so I’m just trying to continue the old baseball — I think some people kind of get away from it. I remember when I was a rookie the strike zone was really, really small and you didn’t say anything just because that’s the way baseball is. Sometimes the league is protecting certain players and making it not that old-school, prestigious way of baseball.”
But why did Hamels voluntarily throw at Harper, the 19-year old baseball prodigy? Harper didn't exactly do anything over the weekend that would have been bean-worthy, did he?
"The Phillies are worried about them, and Hamels’ beanball showed it," the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore wrote.
Harper ended up making Hamels pay for the beanball. After going first to third on a Jayson Werth single to left field, Harper waited for the rght opportunity to strike, stealing home when Hamels threw to first to keep Werth close. Not paying much attention to Harper, Hamels allowed Harper to get a solid lead off of third. The result...
As Harper crossed home plate he picked himself up, started walking back to the dugout and gave a very brief glance toward the pitcher's mound to Hamels. The two did not make eye contact, it appeared, but each knew what just happened. Fortunately for the Phillies the run did not hurt them too much as Hamels locked down the Nationals and the offense rebounded and padded a lead in the ninth inning of a 9-3 victory.
So, since Hamels admitted to going after Harper on his first pitch to the kid, will be be fined? Suspended? Hamels should be fined, without question (and if Ruben Amaro Jr. would sign him to an extension today it would be mere pocket change). I would not be surprised to see Hamels suspended for one game either, although there is no history for Hamels in this area and this would be his first offense.
The ball is in Bud Selig's court now.
Hamels was later hit b a pitch in the ankle in retaliation. After Hamels was hit by a pitch, the funny business was over. Hamels and the Phillies had the last laugh Sunday night on national television, but it is the Nationals who took the first series of the season between the two franchises. The Phillies sit 4.5 games back of the Nationals, and hope to dig out of last place this week.
The Phillies will be back on national television Monday night when they welcome the New York Mets to Citizens Bank Park for the start of a lengthy homestand. Roy Halladay will hope to pick up his first win in four attempts (two losses, one no-decision).
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