The Nationals were officially eliminated from postseason play on Saturday when the Mets beat the Reds in Cincinnati to clinch the NL East title. On Sunday, things in Washington went from bad to worse.
Bryce Harper began exchanging words with Jonathan Papelbon on his way back into the Nationals’ dugout after a lazy flyout to left field in the bottom of the eighth inning. The two then had a physical confrontation, with multiple Nationals players and coaches having to step in to break it up.
Papelbon was the one who made it physical. This picture shows him putting Harper, the soon-to-be NL MVP, into a chokehold …
The full scene, via MLB.com …
Harper was removed from the 4-4 game by Nationals manager Matt Williams. Papelbon came back out for the top of the ninth after securing the final out in the top of the eighth. He allowed a two-run homer to Andres Blanco in the ninth, giving the last-place Phillies a 6-4 lead at Nationals Park.
2019 has not been kind to the Seattle Mariners. After starting the year 13-2, the club has gone 41-71 since, earning last place in the AL West. To give credit where credit is due, however, the Mariners were on something of a roll, entering Wednesday afternoon’s series road trip finale against the Rays on a four-game winning streak. However, the M’s lost Wednesday’s contest in very depressing fashion.
Entering the top of the ninth inning, the Mariners trailed the Rays 5-3, but a solo homer by Daniel Vogelbach and a two-run triple by Mallex Smith sent them into the bottom half of the ninth leading 6-5. Manager Scott Servais sent Matt Magill — acquired from the Twins exactly one month ago — to the mound to close out the game.
Kevin Kiermaier greeted Magill rudely, starting the inning by swatting a game-tying solo home run to center field. Magill would then allow a single to Willy Adames and a double to Michael Brosseau before intentionally walking Ji-Man Choi to load the bases with no outs. Tommy Pham worked the count to 1-2 when Magill spiked a breaking ball in the dirt that catcher Omar Narváez had little hope of corralling. The ball skipped away and the Rays walked off 7-6 winners on a wild pitch, a very on-brand sentence for the 2019 Mariners.