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.
Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.
The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.
The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.