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WATCH: Bryce Harper takes exception to inside pitches, leading to benches clearing in Phillies-Giants game

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Benches and bullpens cleared between the Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on Wednesday afternoon (GameTracker) after lefty Kyle Harrison threw two consecutive fastballs up and in on Bryce Harper. Harper had words for Harrison after the first pitch and the second hit Harper’s bat for a foul ball. He grounded out later in the at-bat.

Here is the video. Admittedly, this is weak by “benches cleared” standards, and it in no way qualifies as a “brawl.” No punches were thrown, there was no shoving, and no one on either side was ejected.

Wednesday is the seven-year anniversary of the Harper vs. Hunter Strickland brawl at Oracle Park. Harper, then with the Washington Nationals, took exception to a Strickland fastball to the hip and charged the mound. The two had a history dating back to the 2014 postseason, when Harper took Strickland deep and admired it.

“I don’t want to go on a baseball field and try to fight somebody,” Harper said after the 2017 game (via MLB.com). “Especially when it’s somebody that it’s in the past. It’s so in the past that it’s not even relevant anymore. … I don’t know why he did it or what he did it for, but I guess it happens.”  

Harper, it should be noted, was hit in the face by a pitch in 2021 and in the thumb in 2022. He suffered a fracture that required surgery on his thumb, which sidelined him close to two months. No hitter likes being buzzed up and in. Harper has more reason to be upset than most given his plunkings in recent years.

Entering Wednesday, Harper was 2 for 2 with a home run against the young Harrison, then he struck out in his first two at-bats. If Harrison threw at Harper intentionally, he picked a weird time to do it — Harrison had two strikes on Harper with two on and two outs.

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