The suspensions from Monday’s brawl between Bryce Harper and Hunter Strickland have been handed out. Per Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Harper will receive four games, while Strickland will get six.
Strickland got six games, Harper four
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) May 30, 2017
Not surprisingly, both players are appealing, and both were fined for their actions.
Both players are appealing. Both players were also fined.
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) May 30, 2017
In terms of their value to their respective teams, this was never going to be equitable. Harper is not only the best player on the Washington Nationals, but one of the best in all of baseball. Strickland, meanwhile, is a decent relief pitcher, but not someone overly integral to the success and failure of the San Francisco Giants.
With that said, they were the only two people really fighting and as such, the only ones who could have been suspended.
Realistically, Harper’s seems a bit harsh. It’s true that he didn’t have to charge the mound. But in this situation, there was virtually no doubt that the pitch was intentional, regardless of what Strickland said after the game. One has to wonder if throwing his helmet earned Harper a few more games.
Strickland’s feels about right. If anything, it’s a little lenient. In most cases, the pitcher’s punishment is hard to figure out. While there’s no doubt that the hitter intended to charge the mound, there’s often at least some doubt as to whether the pitch was intentional. Once the mound is charged, the pitcher certainly has the right to defend himself. But this situation offers no doubt. Additionally, Strickland’s actions once he and Harper were separated are impossible to defend.