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Luis Avilan got a standing ovation for hitting Bryce Harper with a pitch last night

Aug 17, 2013, 12:19 PM EDT

Bryce Harper Getty Getty Images

Intentional or not, Bryce Harper‘s body continues to be a magnet for Braves’ pitchers. After benches cleared when the 20-year-old was hit by a pitch back on August 6, he was hit two more times last night.

Harper was hit in the back by a curveball from starter Alex Wood in the top of the fourth inning, though it certainly appeared to be a pitch that got away from the young southpaw. Luis Avilan later plunked Harper in the eighth inning with a pitch that came dangerously close to hitting him in the head.

It’s worth noting that it was a one-run game at the time and the tying run was already at second base, so it would be a silly time to throw at someone intentionally. While Avilan put his team in position to potentially lose the game, that didn’t stop some fans from giving him a standing ovation when Fredi Gonzalez made a pitching change. Oh, so classy. The Nationals would go on to tie it on a single by Jayson Werth, but the Braves won in the bottom of the 10th inning on a walk-off homer by Justin Upton.

For his part, Avilan told Amanda Comak of the Washington Times that he did not throw at Harper intentionally and simply had a “bad day” on the mound. Meanwhile, Harper declined comment after the game. There have been calls for retaliation from the Nationals, but you can bet the umpiring crew will be on high alert for any funny business this weekend. Besides, it’s not like throwing at someone will change the fact that the disappointing Nationals sit 15 1/2 games behind the Braves in the National League East.

  1. goskinsvt - Aug 17, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Also worth noting that Harper didn’t say anything either time, just took his base.

    • bobulated - Aug 17, 2013 at 4:42 PM

      Like a pro.
      I know he gets the “too young, too fast to fame” backlash that players predestined for greatness get but he handles himself a heckuva a lot better than I would have @ 20 with millions in my pocket and the outrageous media attention, and I say that as a Braves fan.
      Also don’t think either was intentional as you look at any heat map and high and tight then away and low is the way to pitch Harper. That being said, wouldn’t be surprised if the Nats retaliated and would understand if they did; at some point, regardless of intent, the unwritten rules say (agree or disagree) a gesture must be made. Whether that’s brushing Heyward off the plate or plunking a Upton is something we might find out in the next day or so.

    • bosoxfanpeds - Aug 17, 2013 at 8:04 PM

      If the pitcher keeps throwing at me, what I’d do go back in the box as far as possible during the pitch and smack the catcher right in the side of head with the bat…. When the catcher leaves the game tell the coach the next catcher is going to get the same treatment…..Enough Enough….never in my day would another pitcher throw at a batter……Throwing the bat at pitcher never really worked, but knocking the catcher out for a couple of weeks would put that team in dire straights……Play the game hard and when you play to hurt other teams your policing the game…..In the case of A-Rod Drill him in the head and let him talk to his lawyers about that….I’m out>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    • baseballer28 - Aug 17, 2013 at 10:13 PM

      Yeah, as oppose to all the other times he about starts a fight over some BS. Dude is bad for baseball. He acts like the game owes him something; the game doesn’t owe him shit and he should start acting with some class and lay the right way, instead of spiking people and talking shit, oh and lets not forget blowing kisses at pitchers. I wish every pitcher that he faces would do this just to get him out of the game. Harper is the next arod

  2. deep64blue - Aug 17, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    Time for a new rule, any pitcher who hits a batter is automatically ejected. Let’s sort this beofre someone is killed.

    • cohnjusack - Aug 17, 2013 at 2:05 PM

      Yep, let’s make sure no one ever pitches inside again.

      Also, that adds a whole new level of talent to guys like Sin Soo Choo, Craig Biggio, Fernando Vina, Ron Hunt…not only are they turning into pitches to take a base, but they’re turning in to pitches because it automatically get the pitcher ejected!

    • bigmeechy74 - Aug 17, 2013 at 5:51 PM

      Yeah. “Let’s” do that… haha come on man

    • mrwillie - Aug 17, 2013 at 5:54 PM

      Craig? Is that you?

      • moogro - Aug 18, 2013 at 1:58 AM

        you have poopy in your pants

    • baseballer28 - Aug 17, 2013 at 10:15 PM

      Or they could go ahead and just hit him in the face and help us all out. Baseball would be better off!

  3. 13arod - Aug 17, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    deep64blue most of the time it isnt on purpose

  4. holleywood9 - Aug 17, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    I hope that was sarcasm from deep… That said if u get plunked, smile (wink and the pitcher if u want) and run to first base. Piss them off without getting a suspension back

    • natslady - Aug 17, 2013 at 2:56 PM

      Throw a kiss?

      • dondada10 - Aug 17, 2013 at 4:58 PM

        Natitude!

  5. bringbackkosar - Aug 17, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    rednecks….get ready to put up another division championship banner (OOOOOOH) and choke in the first round again

    • Kevin Gillman - Aug 17, 2013 at 4:36 PM

      Isn’t that what the Nats did last season too? So what’s the difference.

  6. mustbechris - Aug 17, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Craig recused himself from writing this article due to conflict of interest, no?

  7. howsmyrash - Aug 17, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    I am a Cubs fan so I have no bias here, but it this was the Phillies as opposed to the Braves we would be reading a completely different story from this site.

  8. beast2727 - Aug 17, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Bullshit pitch from a bullshit team

  9. Todd Boss - Aug 17, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    Note that Calcaterra, admitted Braves fan-boy and Nationals troll, didn’t write this piece for hardballtalk.

    Not to link hijack, but I question the Nats testicular fortitude in a blog post on the same topic here (written by a Nats fan). http://www.nationalsarmrace.com./?p=7445

    • voteforno6 - Aug 17, 2013 at 4:10 PM

      The problem is that the umpires issued warnings, thereby preventing any retaliation. The Nats aren’t going to burn a pitcher, and risk him getting a short suspension, just to prove a point. I wouldn’t put it past those chickens**t Braves to throw at somebody in the first inning tonight, just to get the warnings issued again. Otherwise, they have to know that something is going to happen to one or more of their players.

  10. scdocal - Aug 17, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    Obviously wasn’t intentional. So how is it a bull shit pitch. Avilan apologized up and down for it. Best record in baseball is a bull shit team then what does that make ur team. Pitchers have to be able to go inside. He almost got hit a third time by Downs. It’s part of the game. Deal with it or don’t play. I think in every rivalry if/when something like this happens the opposing team cheers.

    • someguyinva - Aug 17, 2013 at 6:58 PM

      I’m dubious about the obviously wasn’t intentional bit. When a left-handed batter gets hit in the back of his left (i.e., back) shoulder by a fastball at the Major League level, it’s fair to question the intent of the pitcher. This wasn’t an inside pitch that got away; this was a pitch behind Harper, about six inches below his neck.

  11. missingdiz - Aug 17, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    I was watching a Braves home game years ago, back when they were on TV all the time everywhere. A guy from the other team was up and the count went to 3 & 0. Out of the crowd buzz comes this loud, beery, male voice: “if you goin walk im, HIT im!” Yee doggies!

    People are going to get hit sometimes, it’s part of the game. Punishing the pitcher every time it happens would ruin the game. It would be like banning tackling in football.

  12. voteforno6 - Aug 17, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    Considering how they acted during the Wild Card game last year, do you expect any better from these cretins?

    • bobulated - Aug 17, 2013 at 4:34 PM

      If that call was made in a Yankess one game playoff the Bronx would have been in flames, a congressional committee formed and Superbud would have changed it to best 2 out of 3 with the all-star game somehow influencing home field.
      It shows how horrendous a call it was that a fan base notorious for its apathy was almost moved to riot.

    • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Aug 17, 2013 at 5:21 PM

      Painting with an awfully broad brush, aren’t we?

      • voteforno6 - Aug 17, 2013 at 5:28 PM

        That’s the reputation that the Braves fans have earned. Yeah, there are some decent ones but what do people remember? It’s the crap they pulled last night, along with every idiotic thing that was tweeted last night. It’s throwing trash on the field, and it’s that incredibly dumb tomahawk chop. Congratulations, Braves fans, you’re earning a reputation right up there with Phillies fans.

      • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Aug 17, 2013 at 11:27 PM

        Your reasoning leaves much to be desired. Oh well. Every fan base has its share of narrow-minded assholes, including whichever team you like. In fact, I might just know of a guy who is one of them …

    • mrwillie - Aug 17, 2013 at 5:58 PM

      Throwing a can in the heat of the moment, or name calling on the internet a year later? Who has the problem?

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