More on Harper and a tough matchup ahead

At the risk of continuing the conversation about Bryce Harper’s ejection for yet another day and annoying the heck out of those who want to move on, here’s a view of the incident that I hadn’t yet seen.

This view shows Harper as he “slammed” his bat and helmet to the ground.

I put “slammed” in quotes because that’s the term that third base umpire John Hirschbeck used when explaining his decision to eject Harper after the game.

“I was actually just being nice,” Hirschbeck told a pool reporter Sunday afternoon. “Even the hands up in the air is showing me up, to me. I could have ejected him right then. I was nice enough to leave him in the game. And then he slammed his bat down. And then on top of that, he slammed his helmet. I had no other recourse, really.”

Looks to me like Harper just tossed his bat and helmet aside, much as he would after any at-bat. Was he glaring out at Hirschbeck as he did it? Yeah, he was. But if the bat and helmet toss was the final straw that ended up getting Harper ejected, then consider me pretty surprised.

Hirschbeck sure seemed like he was looking for a reason to toss Harper at that point.

Major League Baseball reviews every ejection and will go back and look at the actions of both Harper and Hirschbeck to determine whether further action needs to be taken. Rarely is an umpire disciplined for his actions on the field, although the league did fine umpire Tom Hallion just last week for getting involved in an argument with Rays pitcher David Price.

The Nationals will welcome the reigning American League champion Tigers to Nats Park tonight for a mini two-game series. It’ll be a battle of two teams viewed by many as legitimate World Series contenders. Detroit is off to a 19-11 start to the season and has won nine of their last 10.

When you look at the pitching matchups for this series, Nats fans might be thrilled that Davey Johnson’s bunch won’t have to face Justin Verlander, who pitched on Sunday, throwing six no-hit innings against the Astros before allowing his first knock of the game in the seventh.

Verlander is arguably the top starter in the game right now. His stuff is pure filth.

I wonder if there are players in the Nationals’ clubhouse, however, who would rather face the flamethrowing Verlander than the guy who they’ll actually face tonight - Anibal Sanchez.

Over 19 career starts against the Nats, Sanchez has a ridiculous 8-0 record, 1.97 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 118 2/3 innings.

The right-hander has held Jayson Werth to a .167 career average. Adam LaRoche is batting .200 in 30 career at-bats against Sanchez. Ryan Zimmerman is a .238 hitter in 42 at-bats off the former Marlins hurler.

Ian Desmond (8-for-25 with a homer) and Wilson Ramos (5-for-13) are the lone Nats with at least 15 plate appearances against Sanchez to hit greater than .240 off him. Sanchez has dominated Nationals past and present.

The Nats probably thought they were done with Sanchez for good when he signed with the Tigers this offseason. But no, here they are facing him again and hearing from reporters like me how tough a time they’ve had against the Venezuelan product.

The good news is the Nats will counter with Jordan Zimmermann, who has not allowed a run and has surrendered just three hits in his last 18 innings. Zimmermann is gunning for his sixth win on the season, but he’ll face a tough Tigers lineup tonight.

If you like good pitching, tonight is your night, assuming the rain calms down and this game actually gets played.

blog comments powered by Disqus