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Stephen Strasburg ejected after hitting Justin Upton, throwing behind Andrelton Simmons

Aug 17, 2013, 9:00 PM EDT

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals Getty Images

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.

  1. tommyshih - Aug 17, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    The first wild pitch was actually an outside breaking ball in the dirt–in the opposing batter’s box, actually. The second was wayyy behind Simmons. Then the third was slightly behind him. Really odd. It was hard to tell if he was having an Ankiel style meltdown or after uncorking that first wild pitch decided to plunk Simmons and failed miserably…twice. I thought meltdown at first, but then when he got tossed he didn’t argue, just kind of stalked off the mound glaring at everybody. Very strange. Then again, just about every Strasburg start in Atlanta is strange.

    • Bill Baer - Aug 17, 2013 at 9:11 PM

      Thanks, I’ve fixed the mistake.

  2. dondada10 - Aug 17, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Haven’t gotten a chance to see it. Was he certainly trying to hit Simmons? Why wouldn’t he just hit Schafer instead of putting a runner in scoring position?

    • goskinsvt - Aug 17, 2013 at 9:18 PM

      It was just an outrageously bad sequence of pitches, regardless of whether or not he was trying to throw a strike or hit him. Either way, he failed pretty miserably, almost makes you wonder if it isn’t something more…

    • natslady - Aug 17, 2013 at 9:19 PM

      It’s not at all clear what happened. First of all, Stras hates the ATL, the mound, etc. Second, I’ve seen him lose it like that, very suddenly, though never quite this extreme.Third, the top of the 2nd was VERY long (something was also wrong with Mike Minor, he walked a bunch of guys, etc, and a reliever came in). Stras sat around in the damp air. My feeling is that he lost it, and was just stunned.

      However, fans have suggested (a) he meant to scare the daylights out of the opposing team, hitting Upton wasn’t enough. Or (b) he was mad about the shutdown and this was his way of showing it. Or (c) he just hates the ATL so much he just said f’ it and got himself thrown out. I find all of these highly unlikely.

      • natslady - Aug 17, 2013 at 9:24 PM

        Meanwhile, Tanner Roark (Row-ARK), six-years in the minors, your basic long reliever–has shut down Atlanta and just got his first ML hit, an RBI double. Go figure.

    • Ducky Medwick - Aug 17, 2013 at 9:29 PM

      Seemed more like an Ankiel moment to me. Probably pretty scary trying to face a guy throwing that hard when he has no idea where it’s going.

  3. greymares - Aug 17, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    He should be ejected for being that inaccurate.

  4. elwaysagenius - Aug 17, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    I like when team’s star players hate their rivals. This is shaping up nicely for the next few years

  5. dondada10 - Aug 17, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    Matt Harvey wouldn’t miss.

    • historiophiliac - Aug 17, 2013 at 9:58 PM

      /hands don a towel

      • paperlions - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:33 AM


  6. chc4 - Aug 17, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    So wait… Teheran was definitely throwing at Harper 2 weeks ago yet you aren’t so sure that Strasburg wasn’t doing the same to Simmons? Two pitches waaay behind the batter while Teheran hit BH with a ball in the thigh. And Strasburg already did it once earlier in the game. No doubt he was instructed to hit Simmons.

    My guess is Strasburg already got Upton in the 1st and didn’t want to hit Simmons… but felt he needed to to earn respect from his teammates. Maybe he was told to by Johnson/McCatty. So he throws behind him twice rather than hit him b/c he wasn’t comfortable doing it. Much like when Tom Glavine was forced to hit Dale Murphy back when he was with the Phillies. Youtube it.

    • voteforno6 - Aug 17, 2013 at 10:01 PM

      If Strasburg was throwing at Simmons, it wasn’t because someone else told him to do it. He looked out of sorts that whole inning – I’ve never seen him so wild. It’s just as likely that he just had a mini-meltdown (he’s done that a few times).

    • kinggw - Aug 17, 2013 at 10:25 PM

      That makes absolutely no sense considering there was a runner on 1st with no outs and the Nats only had a three run lead. None of the pitches three pitches Strasburg threw to Simmons were anywhere close to him.

      I think Strasburg simply sat too long in 2nd inning when Minor couldn’t get out of the inning and couldnt find his rhythm when he got back. He walked Schafer on 4 pitches then the craziness started.

  7. baseballer28 - Aug 17, 2013 at 10:03 PM


  8. jayquintana - Aug 17, 2013 at 10:27 PM

    Haven’t seen it, but it makes no sense at all for him to intentionally throw at Simmons. If he did, you really have to question his intelligence.

  9. scdocal - Aug 17, 2013 at 10:40 PM

    @natslady u seem to be grasping for straws when trying to defend Strassburg’s horrible outings in Atlanta or for any positive to the season. Either way Strassburg has been horrible pitching in Atlanta. Didn’t he get pulled cause it was hot out. If he was throwing at Simmons and missed, he is not very bright. Glad nobody got hurt and the Braves can play in October while the Nats regroup and get ready for next year. Being a Braves fan I love that this rivalry has some substance to it and there is a reason to actually hate each other.

    • pdowdy83 - Aug 18, 2013 at 2:34 AM

      You seem to have missed the fact that Atlanta has blatantly hit Harper twice in the last 4 head to head games plus a 3rd time that seemed inadvertent. It isn’t the Nationals that are out of line here. How MLB can eject Strasburg and not do anything to Teheran or Avilan is an absolute joke.

  10. kingscourt25 - Aug 17, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    Why are the Braves getting in bean wars with a team they’re 17 games in front of?

    • Kevin Gillman - Aug 17, 2013 at 11:37 PM

      Because Danny Espinosa still thinks Nats are a better team.

  11. pdowdy83 - Aug 18, 2013 at 1:37 AM

    So it is acceptable for Atlanta to hit Harper 3 times, 2 times pretty blatantly, but it isn’t ok for the Nationals to hit 1 guy and MISS another. Way to go MLB umpires.

  12. Walk - Aug 18, 2013 at 1:55 AM

    I was fine with Strasburg hitting upton. We had one coming, probably should have be one more coming, and he did it perfectly placing the ball in uptons hip pocket. As upton was walking to first Strasburg tipped his cap to the left field dugout, I am ok with that too, but upton was intentional. As far as the simmons pitches went I am at a loss there, the third pitch would have hit simmons in the same place upton got hit if he had not thrown two wild pitches just before and put simmons on the defensive. There was a mound visit just before the Strasburg meltdown as well and it did not look like the nats pitching coach was happy at all. I have no idea what was said if anything, but that whole meltdown happened after the mound visit. I also do not know if he was trying to hit simmons. I tend to think he was not trying to hit simmons as both starting pitchers had control issues, as well as the infielders, and relievers to a lesser extent.

  13. edwardcollinss - Aug 18, 2013 at 5:51 AM

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  14. jwbiii - Aug 18, 2013 at 6:49 AM

    So a 50 game suspension or a 211 game suspension, or more? Or would you argue that assault with a deadly weapon is a lesser offense than using drugs and therefore deserves a lesser punishment?

    • blacksables - Aug 18, 2013 at 8:30 AM

      Why are you picking apples in an orange grove?

      • jwbiii - Aug 18, 2013 at 1:02 PM

        Not at all. Both are offenses which deserve suspensions. Which deserves a greater penalty?

  15. scdocal - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:47 PM

    Braves hit Harper intentionally one time. The 2 on Saturday night were not intentional. One was a curve and one got away to a pitcher who’s whole persona is pitching inside. You can’t not throw inside to a guy like Harper. It happens. Stop bitching like ehh it’s not fair they hit our guy 3 times and we only got to hit theirs once. It’s part of the game. Hopefully now that the series/season has been decided both teams can do what they gotta do to get better. As a Braves fan who can you not appreciate Harpers talent. Yeah he can be petulant but dude is solid. Only guy I fear in that lineup. I think he has matured quite a bit since him being called up. I hope he can stay healthy and serve up some more highlights because he can be fun to watch.

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