September 24, 2015
The Jonathan Papelbon trade didn’t turn out so hot for the Washington Nationals, huh?
The closer hasn’t been quite as dominant as he was in Philly before getting traded, Drew Storen completely fell apart after being moved to the set-up role, and the Nats find themselves 6.5 games back of the New York Mets in the division. The World Series favorite before the season, they will need a miracle to just make the playoffs.
And now Papelbon is apparently endangering the face of the franchise.
The video above comes from last night’s Nats-Orioles game. Orioles star Manny Machado apparently took his time rounding the bases after hitting a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning. Papelbon, who obviously wasn’t too happy about it, threw two pitches up and in during Machado’s next at-bat. The second one drilled him in the shoulder.
Papelbon, as he always does, gave an interesting quote after the game (via the Washington Post):
“I don’t know if they have to give me a reason or not,” he said, then turning meta. “But perception is reality. If Manny thinks I hit him, then that’s what he thinks. I’m not going to sit here and go back and forth whether I did or whether I didn’t, cause it doesn’t matter. If he thinks I did, that’s what he thinks.”
In baseball, throwing at a star player often means that the other team will retaliate by throwing at your star player. The Nationals’ star is Bryce Harper, who is enjoying an incredible offensive season and should win the National League MVP by a mile.
Harper knows that he could be in danger today when the two teams resume their series. He’s not happy about it, either (via WP):
“I mean, Manny freaking hit a homer and walked it off and somebody drilled him,” Harper said. “It’s pretty tired. It’s one of those situations where it happens. I don’t know. I’ll probably get drilled tomorrow. We’ll see what happens.”
In the words of Papelbon: If Bryce thinks what I did was stupid, that’s what he thinks.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann