There was some action in last night’s game when Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was hit twice, once by Braves starter Alex Wood and once by reliever Luis Avilan. Due to a bruise caused by Avilan’s pitch, Harper was removed from tonight’s starting lineup. Davey Johnson said he and his clubhouse were miffed, but the manager said he did not instruct his players to retaliate on behalf of Harper.
Strasburg, then, must have taken matters into his own hands tonight. After Jason Heyward hit a lead-off solo home run in the bottom of the first inning, Strasburg pegged Justin Upton with a fastball. Home plate umpire Marvin Hudson issued warnings to both teams and Strasburg was able to exit the inning without any further damage.
In the bottom of the second, Strasburg walked lead-off batter Jordan Schafer on four pitches. Strasburg began the next at-bat with a wild pitch to Andrelton Simmons. Pitching coach Steve McCatty paid him a visit on the mound, but it didn’t seem to have any effect. Strasburg a second and third wild pitch behind Simmons, causing Hudson to eject him and his manager from the game. Tyler Roark relieved Strasburg, finishing up the Simmons at-bat with a walk, but eventually escaped the inning without allowing a run.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.