SAN FRANCISCO — A payback pitch will end up costing Hunter Strickland six games.
The reliever was suspended and fined by Major League Baseball for his role in a benches-clearing brawl on Monday. Bryce Harper was suspended four games and also fined. Both players are appealing their suspensions.
Strickland threw a 98 mph fastball at Harper’s hip in the eighth inning of a 3-0 loss, and Harper immediately charged the mound. Both players threw punches before teammates rushed in and broke it up. Strickland was so incensed that it took three large teammates to drag him off the field. He denied that there was any intent, saying he was just trying to pitch inside to a player who homered off him twice in the 2014 NLDS.
Both players were ejected after the fight. The ejection was the first of Strickland’s career and ninth for Harper, who has been thrown at several times since he broke in as a highly-touted rookie.
Strickland has a 1.06 ERA in 20 appearances and he has primarily served as Bruce Bochy’s seventh-inning guy. Without him, the Giants will have to elevate others, perhaps right-hander Bryan Morris, who has nine consecutive scoreless appearances.