Major League Baseball always celebrates Memorial Day in style; the awesome camo-trimmed uniforms and caps, the touching ceremonies at the park. And Hunter Strickland and Bryce Harper also decided to commemorate the Holiday with a little old-fashioned man-to-man combat. Hunter Strickland drilled Harper, obviously intentionally, with the very first pitch of the at-bat. Harper did not take kindly and rushed the mound, each landing a legitimate punch to the other’s face before the cleared benches led to some cooler heads eventually prevailing.
The crazy thing is that the brawl started, apparently, because Strickland was still sore about giving up a pair of homeruns to Harper in the 2014 postseason. Yup. 2014. Gotta love those “unwritten rules” of baseball…
Elsewhere, the Cubs lost their fourth straight and this time they can’t blame the dominant pitching of the Dodgers as they got dropped 5-2 in San Diego, the Reds allowed 17 runs to Toronto, the Dodgers finally got to Mike Leake in a 5-1 win, and the D’Backs were cooled off by the Pirates at PNC Park.
There’s some good action on the slate today, highlighted by the Dodgers and Cardinals on ESPN, followed by the Nationals and Giants (will cooler heads reign today, or should Buster Posey bring some extra padding to the batter’s box…) at 10pm.
Today’s MLB Pick:
Washington Nationals +110 at San Francisco Giants -118 (Total: 7.5)
Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 2.90 ERA) vs. Jeff Samardzijia (1-6, 4.50 ERA)
It’s difficult to imagine there won’t be some heightened tensions tonight at AT&T Park, the question is whether either of these starting pitchers, particularly Gio, choose to do something about it. Posey would be the obvious target, but plunking him would likely lead to an ejection and a long bullpen game for the Nationals. I’m thinking they might instead choose to lay in wait for a little bit and get some “payback” at a later time…
So, assuming both starters are on the mound to pitch and not to fight, the slight edge would appear to the Nationals. Gio Gonzalez has been excellent in 2017 overall, though his May hasn’t been as sharp with a 4.48 ERA. Much of the damage was done in a six run, five inning outing, but he hasn’t delivered an official quality start in May after delivering five in April. Meanwhile, his counterpart has a miserable 1-6 record, but hasn’t pitched terribly lately. Samardzijia actually has much better numbers in May, posting a 2.95 ERA with an excellent 0.93 WHIP. Gio’s WHIP is nearly double, 1.64, in the same stretch.
The Nats will be keyed up tonight for sure, but I’ll take the home team tonight. Samardzijia has been throwing the ball really well and will finally get the W he deserves. There is a decent chance Harper will be out tonight, further complicating things for the Nats.
Today’s MLB Pick: SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS TO WIN -118