Round 2 of Cole Hamels vs. Bryce Harper is tonight

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Tonight is Round 2 of Bryce Harper vs. Cole Hamels as the Nationals and Phillies square off in Philadelphia, but both sides are trying their best to downplay the situation that resulted in endless headlines and a suspension for Hamels the first time they met.

Hamels has declined to comment other than to now claim that his hitting Harper on May 6 was actually unintentional–sorry Cole, that ship has long since sailed–and Harper told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he doesn’t expect another incident:

I don’t even think about that. It’s a new series, a new day. I have a lot of respect for everybody in that other dugout. They’re an All-Star team … guys who are All-Stars who have been in this league for a long time.

Earlier this week Harper also praised Phillies fans while joking about their battery-throwing past and Philadelphia added extra ballpark security in the outfield to avoid any issues, so on paper at least Round 2 might end up being just another matchup between one of baseball’s best left-handers and one of baseball’s best young hitters.

Assuming, of course, that no one feels the sudden urge to be “old school.”

Nationals’ Strasburg ejected for arguing from the stands

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — A pitcher getting ejected for arguing balls and strikes – on his day off? And, from the stands?

Nationals star Stephen Strasburg earned one of baseball’s most unique ejections – probably ever – in the third inning of Washington’s game against the New York Mets on Thursday.

Strasburg was sitting in Section 121 at Citi Field in this socially distant season because he’s scheduled to start Friday against Baltimore Orioles. He was apparently unhappy with the strike zone of plate umpire Carlos Torres after Austin Voth‘s 2-2 pitch to Pete Alonso on the outside corner was ruled a ball.

Moments later, Torres ejected last year’s World Series MVP, though it took a few seconds to realize who had been tossed.

Someone was heard yelling: “You’re (expletive) brutal” shortly before television cameras captured Strasburg doffing his cap as he walked up the staircase on his way out of the park.

“Sorry, folks – sorry, FCC,” Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen said on SNY.

The usually stoic Strasburg appeared to be grinning underneath his blue mask as he made his exit.