Benches clear in Washington – twice

In Thursday's Cubs-Nationals game, benches cleared in the sixth inning after Cubs reliever Lendy Castillo threw inside at Bryce Harper. Both benches cleared and the bullpens emptied onto the field. There was an incident at first base between Cubs reliever Manuel Corpas and Nationals reliever Mike Gonzalez led to both of their ejections, and Cubs catcher Steve Clevenger was also ejected after shoving Michael Morse.

I have no issue with Castillo throwing at Harper. He didn't throw at his head. He threw a belt high, inside fastball at Harper, not something intended to injure by any means. Harper homered twice on Wednesday, and had two more hits during Thursday's game. The main point of contention was apparently Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth swinging away on a 3-0 count in the fifth inning with the bases loaded and Washington already leading the game 7-2. The Nationals also stole a pair of bases in that inning. The benches would clear after Werth swinging on 3-0, and there was a confrontation between Cubs bench coach Jamie Quirk and Nationals third base coach Bo Porter.

During the first incident, Porter nearly entered the Cubs dugout to yell at Quirk and Chicago manager Dale Sveum. This probably didn't help the tempers of both teams during both bench clearing incidents. Somewhat miraculously, Porter was NOT ejected from the game despite essentially being the instigator of the whole mess and just about hopping into the Cubs dugout.

What really irks me is the pious, holier than thou attitude of Nationals announcers Bob Carpenter and FP Santangelo, opining that the Cubs are jealous of Washington's success and that the Nationals have done nothing wrong but "play the game the right way". Maybe it's just me, but hacking away on a 3-0 count while you're up five runs, and stealing multiple bases while leading by the same score (and Danny Espinosa also stole a base on Wednesday, with the Nationals leading the game 9-4 at the time) doesn't really scream "hard-nosed baseball", it screams "you're begging for a plunking". 

Both of this incidents were just a ridiculous all-around display by the umpires in Washington, and the reaction from the Nationals towards Harper getting thrown inside on was absurd.

Joe Lucia

About Joe Lucia

Joe is the managing editor of The Outside Corner and an associate editor at Awful Announcing. He lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and is smack dab in the middle of some of the best (and worst) sports fans in the country.

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