Possible bad blood
The Nats swept the Giants in their first matchup this season, but the lasting image from that series is Bryce Harper charging the mound after being plunked by Hunter Strickland. Strickland was upset about homers from 2014 and held a grudge for 969 days.
The two finally met again this season and Strickland decided to act on his grudge, hurling a 98 mph fastball right into Harper’s hip. This was obviously intentional, which led to Harper charging the mound and a benches-clearing brawl.
One of the most negative repercussions of the brawl was the concussion suffered by Michael Morse. Morse entered the center of the scuffle, seemingly attempting to break it up, but collided with teammate Jeff Samardzija.
Morse ended up with a severe concussion and has not played since. The former National would’ve received a much-deserved warm welcome back to Nationals Park had he been in action. On top of a lengthy DL-stint, Morse’s career may be over. He is still dealing with symptoms over two months later and is reportedly considering retiring. He is one of the best people in baseball and it is an absolute shame that his career may have been ended by the immature actions of his teammate.
It’s not unusual to see a team retaliate after one of their players is intentionally hit by a pitch, but the Nats never retaliated. This is most likely because it was fairly obvious that the Giants had nothing to do with Harper getting plunked; it was solely on Strickland.
Since the Nats didn’t retaliate in San Francisco, it’s highly unlikely they’ll retaliate during this series, barring anything unexpected. However, it’s still something to keep an eye on throughout the series.