By Matthew Jacobson
With Bryce Harper appealing his suspension, he was in the lineup hitting third as the Nats took their second game of this series 6-3 over the San Francisco Giants. Gio Gonzalez earned his first win since April, tossing 6.1 strong innings allowing three earned runs while striking out six. He did surrender 8 hits and seemed to struggle with his velocity, but this is an outing the Nationals will take from Gio Gonzalez 9 times out of ten. Jeff Samardzjia a night after attempting to cheapshot Bryce Harper, struggled, allowing nine hits and three runs over just four innings. He threw 62 pitches in the first two innings, with the Nationals getting him for two early runs, and it could have been much worse.
At the plate, Trea Turner led the way, going 3-5. Michael A. Taylor continued his impressive replacement campaign in center, going 2-4 with 2 RBI. Daniel “Hits” Murphy went 3-5 including an RBI, and Jayson Werth continues to show that age is just a number, going 2 for 4 and raising his OBP to .381. For the Giants, Orlando Calixte got the first two hits of his major league career, as well as the first two RBI. Outside of him though, the Giants bats were silenced by Gio Gonzalez, Matt Albers (who has arguably been the Nats’ most consistent reliever this season), and newly-minted closer Koda Glover, who may be the in-house solution the Nats have been seeking since Mark Melancon signed with the Giants this offseason.
Another major storyline from this game (or lack of a storyline really) was the lack of retaliation from either side. Personally, I think the whole thing was ridiculous. Strickland holding a grudge against Harper for three years after Harper hit him well in the playoffs is juvenile. Harper’s suspension has been reduced to three games, which is fair, but giving Strickland only six is ridiculous. The league should have made an example of him, because a 98 MPH fastball to the hip is a weapon. 6 games was too short. 15 or 20 would have been appropriate.
The Giants’ unwillingness to defend Strickland’s actions speak as well. Posey did not involve himself in the melee, and their manager Bruce Bochy gave a pretty half-assed defense of Strickland’s actions. Check out 106.7 the Fan’s discussion of the incident. I agree with a lot of what Grant Paulsen had to say on the matter. It’s time we get this kind of crap out of baseball.
Anyway, the Nats go for the sweep tonight in another edition of #LateNightNats. Max Scherzer goes against Matt Cain. First pitch scheduled for 10:15 this evening.