The Nationals take on the Reds in a game that is on the schedule, but the focus is squarely on the altercation that took place late in Sunday's game against the Phillies. It appeared right-handed pitcher Jonathan Papelbon lunged and put his hand around Bryce Harper's neck in the dugout following a verbal disagreement.
Papelbon was suspended for four games without pay by the team and, coupled with dropping his appeal of Major League Baseball's three-game suspension for throwing at Orioles third baseman Manny Machado's head, will not be with the team for the remainder of the season.
Manager Matt Williams also announced that Harper will not play today. He was scheduled for a day off sometime this week, according to Williams. The manager decided to give Harper the day off today in part for Harper's part in Sunday's altercation.
Right-hander Max Scherzer (12-12, 2.98 ERA) faces left-hander Brandon Finnegan (4-1, 3.65 ERA). Scherzer has an opportunity to get above .500 mark with a win. Scherzer has not finished a season with a won-lost record below .500 since 2009 with Arizona. This is the first season he has recorded double digit losses since 2010, when he went 12-11 for Arizona. He could get one more start this weekend in New York against the Mets.