It looks like Strickland got the better of him, but not long afterward both teams swarmed the two of them. (Everyone except Madison Bumgarner.)
Bryce Harper goes after Hunter Strickland after an HBP and then Mike Morse and Jeff Samardzija are collateral damage. pic.twitter.com/jton90huP5— Nick Bromberg (@NickBromberg) May 29, 2017
Here’s a breakdown of punches thrown/connected: Harper: Helmet 1/0, Punches 4/1 (and the one was partially slowed down by Strickland hitting Harper's arm) Strickland 2/1. (And that one was to the face.)
Before we look into just why this happened, can we take a moment to appreciate the terrible helmet throw by Harper before he got to the mound?
Oh, oh no.
It looks like he just threw it to the side as a diversion so that maybe Strickland wouldn’t see that first punch coming? Hint: It didn’t work.
We should also take another moment to appreciate Harper’s impressive coiffure as it swings around almost as wildly as his punches.
Harper’s emotions seemed to be working against him, whereas Strickland actually made contact — with Harper’s face.
But this wasn’t some random event. Honestly, we can’t say for sure yet whether Strickland hit Harper with the pitch on purpose, but these two have a little history.
In the 2014 NLDS, Harper hit a game-tying homer off Strickland and then gave him a dramatic death stare as he ran by.
Maybe Strickland isn’t over it, but I’m sure this helped.