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Delivering the KO punch

Sep 7, 2012, 5:15 AM EDT

Associated Press photo
Benches and bullpens emptied twice during the Nationals’ 9-2 win over the Cubs.

It had only been 48 days since the Nationals carried a nine-run lead into the sixth inning of a crucial game against the Braves and watched it all crumble away in horrifying fashion. So when they entered the fifth inning Thursday night against the Cubs, leading this time by five runs, they weren’t about to ease off the gas pedal.

Thus, Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa each stole second base off Chicago rookie reliever Lendy Castillo. And later Jayson Werth was given the green light to swing away at a 3-0 pitch with the bases loaded.

It all seemed fairly innocuous, just another example of the Nationals steamrolling the Cubs during what wound up a 9-2 victory and a four-game sweep by a combined score of 31-9. Except for Jamie Quirk, Chicago’s normally mild-mannered bench coach, who started jawing at Werth and third base coach Bo Porter and in the process prompted both clubs’ benches and bullpens twice to empty and engage in a mild fracas that resulted in the ejections of Quirk and three players.

“I mean, if they get mad at my guys in the fifth inning swinging 3-0 or running, they better get used to it,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said.
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  1. NatsNut - Sep 7, 2012 at 5:21 AM

    One of the funniest things that we saw at the game but isn't shown in the highlights was that during all the fracas and chaos, Bo Porter didn't budge an inch from his coaches box at 3rd. I guess since he was scolded earlier by the ump to stay in his box. then, by gosh, he was gonna stay in that box. It was hilarious.

  2. MurrayTheRed - Sep 7, 2012 at 5:22 AM

    Wow what an entertaining game. And thanks for the late work Mark!

  3. Grandstander - Sep 7, 2012 at 5:33 AM

    I gotta say, for as much crap as we give the umps, that was the best umped game I've seen in a long time. With the exception of not tossing Castillo for throwing at Bryce, I thought they really made all the right calls, and Jerry was gold behind the plate. Not too much to argue with beyond his ridiculously slow strike call.

  4. Gary - Sep 7, 2012 at 5:33 AM

    I think this little dust up just made the bond between the players just a little tighter. It put more fire in ther bellies to show what this team is really made up. So glad I stuck with this team. Just wish Stras could play in the post season.

  5. Secret wasian man - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    I was almost feeling sorry for the cubs and then they threw at the kid. No class in Chicago. Like I always said. If you can't beat them, Beat them.

  6. Theophilus T. S. - Sep 7, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    I'd be curious about who put out the hit on Harper. Sveum has always struck me as an even-keel sort of guy; Quirk was stewing in the clubhouse, and Castillo is a rookie pitcher who hasn't been around long enough to commission himself for the job. My guess would be the catcher, Clevenger, probably being amped over the two stolen bases. Lane (sp.?) was smart enough to overlook Castillo's part. So I think he thought Clevenger was the guilty party, also. It would be really interesting if he didn't start tonight against Burnett.

  7. baseballswami - Sep 7, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    Interesting to hear/see different takes on last night's events. MLBTV immediately "got" what was really going on and those guys were all over it – completely in support of the Nats. Several other sources said they didn't really know what was going on or made it sound like Bo Porter just picked an argument. Glad our guys mostly stayed above the fray. I love how Werth and Zim took charge of their little brother there. Bryce took a couple of steps but didn't really do anything too aggressive. Think there will be any suspensions? Maybe Quirk. He must have been really inappropriate the way everyone reacted to him. Oh – and about the game? Nice to see JZ work it out and get it back together, even after the long delay. It's not just the hitters that have had a dominant stretch.

  8. Joe Seamhead - Sep 7, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    We were very fortunate that it never escalated any further then it did, we maybe us losing a couple of guys down the stretch to suspensions. Whoever called it was a moron,and I'm no buying that the throw at Bryce was unintentional, Clevenger was an idiot for shoving Morse.I hope Mike Gonzalez doesn't get a suspension, as Sean is nursing a sore arm.Otherwise, a pretty impressive run that our Nats are on. Now, let's gut some fish! GYFNG!!!

  9. baseballswami - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    I think it was Clevenger – who tried to make himself out to be a choir boy. He never moved when that pitch came and he was right in the middle of the shoving. I think the umps agreed and that's why they ejected him and not the pitcher. The umps seemed to be right on top of everything. Not their first rodeo. Nats need to not allow themselves to be baited or other teams will try to instigate something.

  10. MicheleS - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    This was a fun game to be at. I don't think I have been to a bench clearing brawl game in about 15 years! Luckily, no injuries, probably no suspensions, so alls well that ends well.Best quote of the night:"You don't come into our house, and you can't mess with our kid brother," Gonzalez said. "That's how we see it."At least we know they have an edge. Time to take it out on the Marlins (apparantly Ozzie doesn't like our taxis – he is back on twitter).

  11. Natslifer - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    I think their manager says it all with his quotes: "that's the worst butt whipping I've ever had…" (meaning "this really was all about getting our a*$ kicked"), "… oh, he's a Rule 5 kid – he would never throw at anyone…" (meaning "I saw what happened to Hamels earlier in the year and I'm not making THAT mistake")

  12. MicheleS - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    Take a look at the link over to the left on District Sports Page. Cheryl has some really good pictures of the Fracas!

  13. NatsLady - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    Yeah, not very classy on Sveum's part. He needed to say, "Samardzija pitched great, Rizzo is the real deal, our guys made some outstanding plays in field, and Starlin Castro is really starting to perform."

  14. MicheleS - Sep 7, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Also, here is WaPo link to an update aboutWilson Ramos He is working on losing some weight.

  15. sjm308 - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    Good morning all!great analysis of both game and "brawl". I agree the kid was thrown at after watching the catcher.Still laughing at the bullpens having to run TWO sprints during the game. This is not what they signed up for, and I am wondering what they talk about as they run into the fray. What were the Cubs pen going to do?, attack Bo Porter all at once? Just silly looking if you ask me. What would be better is for both pens to meet in the centerfield area and exchange recipes or cell numbers while milling around. Save them both from the cardio workout. Does the rookie relief pitcher have to bring the pink backpack in?On a serious front, spousal equivalent & I leave for 10 glorious days in San Diego and Big Bear Lake. You guys have to keep this going!! I am only taking 3 of my 12 hats including the old battered spring training hat of 5 years ago that has brought us 5 straight wins. I will read much more then post as 1. I don't usually contribute all that much that is positive or relevant 2. its hard for me to work the keys on the ipad and I am not sure about wifi.We will visit Petco Park to see the Cards and I am excited about that. Have to admit I am more excited about visiting Stone Brewery and a full day in Temecula visiting wineries as well as a day at the Zoo. Hope things go well here and will be with you in spirit.Go Nats!! Go Playoffs!! Score First!!

  16. natscan reduxit - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    … the photo of Ryan keeping Bryce from entering thr fray is immediately one of my favourites. Showing an incredible depth of awareness and understanding, Ryan did the right thing for Bryce, and for the team, in showing the kid the value of rising above the knee-jerk gut reaction stuff, and in so doing, illustrating why he is the most valuable asset of the team, and that the kid is his heir apparent.Go Ryan; Go Bryce! Go Nats!!

  17. Steady Eddie - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    Swami — Clevenger also shoved Morse, which was probably the biggest contributor to his getting deservedly tossed, though I suspect that Lane also saw that he didn't even move his glove to stab at the leeeetle bit inside heater. Anyone have any idea if he's related to he Yanks pitcher Tex Clevenger (a reliever) back in the 50s — maybe a grandson?Nats Lady — Sveum had already backed away from the whole team with his "boys against men" crack. None of these comments make it sound like he wants to be manager next year.

  18. SteenTinning - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    While the blown 9 run lead in the Braves game is a good reason to keep up the pressure, how about last year's July 7th game as another good reason? http://www.natsinsider.com/2011/07/blown-game-tonight-important-one.htmlI know this years Cubs aren't last years Cubs, and J-Zimm doesn't frisbee the ball over the plate like Livo, but the example still holds. An 8-0 fifth inning lead wasnt enough then; why should anyone assume it would be enough now?

  19. sjm308 - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Steady – Man, you are killing me! Tex Clevenger was a WASHINGTON SENATOR from 56 to about 60 or 61. I have several of his baseball cards and used to go watch him. I think he did end up with the evil empire but I am pretty sure he started with our lads here in Washington.

  20. sjm308 - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    OK – looked up Tex and he started with the Sox in 1952. Pitched for Washington from 56 until 60. Spent 61 with both the Angels and Yanks and ended his career in 62 with the evil empire. In 58 he led the American League appearing in 55 games and actually started four of those. That is your Tex Clevenger update for todayGo Nats!!

  21. sjm308 - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    Addendum to Tex – first year was 1954 with Boston, not 52 (have to be correct here or you get jumped on)

  22. sm13 - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    The real bottom line last night was that the Cubs believe they cannot come back from a 5 run deficit. Thus, anything is viewed by them as piling on. Davey is going. to keep the pedal down until we clinch. Lets see how the Mets and Fish react.

  23. greg - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    haha, love buster olney's tweek this morning:Buster_ESPN: Cubs were mad that the Nationals were swinging at a 3-0 pitch in the fifth inning, leading 7-2. http://t.co/MAmGHIoS Solution: Play better.

  24. smurff - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    It was nice to see Zimmermann back in the groove last night. Seemed to get better as the game went on. Was worried when he had to sit for 30 minutes during the dust ups, but he came back strong.Maybe there IS something to him pitching every fifth day.

  25. The Retired Journalist - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    I happen to be in Chicago this morning listening and reading the local media; they mostly don't think much of what the Cubs did last night, either. I'll even be at Wrigley Field tonight, but not for baseball — a friend asked me if I wanted to see Bruce Springsteen play there and isn't that what frequent flyer miles are for?sjm308, enjoy San Diego! If you like Belgian-style beers, ask the folks at the Stone brewery for directions to the nearby Lost Abbey.

  26. Dave - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    (Please read aloud in your whiniest 8-year-old voice:)Quirk: "Heyyyy! No FAIR!!! You guys are BETTER than us–but he's swinging on 3-0!!!"Secret wasian man, I also was feeling sorry for the Cubs–or at least their fans–at Nats Park on Wednesday night. There was a very nice guy, dressed up in a Cubs polo and cap, next to me in 313. Whenever Josh Vitters (he of the .077 batting average) came up, he had a one-man cheering section (dripping with sarcasm) in 313.When Rizzo hit that bomb in the 9th of Wednesday's game, I almost was glad for my seat-neighbor.After Thursday night, never mind. The Cubs are punks. Let them go back to Chicago.

  27. Joe Seamhead - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    sjm308, have a great trip. We will help hold down the fort in your absence. As I think it was FP said last night, Ryan Zimmerman was the smartest guy on the field. He not only made sure that Harper stayed out of trouble, he also never put his bat down, as the first time the benches emptied, he had been in the hole to bat, and the second time he was on deck.N-A-T-S! NATS! NATS! NATS!!!GYFNG!!!

  28. A DC Wonk - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    I was in a meeting, and was only getting a text from my daughter (the 17-year old first time fan who's way way into it). She'd never seen a brawl before and her texts were priceless. ("dad, they're actually fighting" "there's 50 guys on the field" "dad, what's going on? explain it to me!")Of course, I couldn't explain it, not seeing what was happening. Then she said "ask your internet friends!"I got home later, and we went over what happened and pieced it together and I explained things. She also said she read Harper's lips when he was thrown at. She said that she thought Harper yelled something like: "are you f***ing throwing at me!?"(can anybody verify?)===========Davey expressed, and I strongly agree, pride in that his team (almost to a man) kept their cool, kept their heads on straight, and didn't do anything stupid during the brouhahas.

  29. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Steady, Clevenger is from Maryland and you could be right about his relation to Tex.

  30. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    MicheleS, thanks for the Wilson Ramos link. Encouraging. I am hoping for Zuu and Ramos for next year and a good trade for JFlo.

  31. A DC Wonk - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    After Thursday night, never mind. The Cubs are punks. Let them go back to Chicago. Actually, it's possible that only two of them were punks: Quirk and Clemenger. The other guys _had_ to stick up for their teammates, even if they knew the teammates were wrong (another unwritten rule of baseball), and heat of the moment and all.

  32. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Hope you all get to see the analysis MLB Network did on Bryce scoring from 3rd in the 1st inning. Their video technology is very hi tech!

  33. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    Harper scoring from third was all hustle on his part, and lack thereof on the part of Luis Valbuena, the third baseman. Balbuena started to go behind the mound to field the grounder, but when the pitcher, Germano, fielded it, there was no chance to look Harper back to third, because nobody was covering the base, and Harper almost certainly knew that.

  34. A DC Wonk - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Hey all, (I didn't see this mentioned yet)Great column by Boz — touches not only on Strasburg, but a couple of stats showing how the Nats are potentially dynasty material here.Washington Nationals are built to last, which is why they need Stephen Strasburg for the long haulMoney quote: "But after 137 games, the Nats are on a 100-win pace. More important, from a 30,000-foot perspective, they’ve done it despite injuries and without even one player performing above his previous best level or above what his potential appeared to be on Opening Day."He's got some good facts to back up that statement. It's a must read.(And after reading it, you'll feel like you just drank a ton of kook-aid! ;-) )

  35. A DC Wonk - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Harper scoring from third was all hustle on his part, and lack thereof on the part of Luis Valbuena, the third baseman. Yep — you explained it well. The 3b was sleeping on the job. When, as you mentioned, the pitcher looked Harper back to third, Harper just stood there. Harper never even leaned back towards third because of the MIA 3b.And props for Harper even _being_ on third! That hit was a double all the way. Harper read it correctly from the start that if he hustled it would take two very good throws to nail him at third. That, really, was a *great* piece of hustle to turn that into a triple. It wasn't Harper's speed so much as it was his effort from the second he left the batter's box.And _that's_ the kind of stuff that we love from 19 year olds. And _that's_ the kind of stuff that's infectious.That play was indicative, if you think about it:Just as Harper was pedal-to-the-medal from first-to-third, the Nats are pedal-to-the-medal from the 1st inning to the 9th inning (or more), and the Nats are pedal-to-the-medal from game 1 to game 162 (and more).Gawd I love this team!

  36. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    And _that's_ the kind of stuff that's infectious.Viral baseball! I thought at the time, Harper was going hard around second, and watching to see if Soriano fielded the ball, because the center fielder, Jackson, wasn't going to get him at third with one throw.

  37. Theophilus T. S. - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    DC Wonk has it right — I don't think all, or even most, of the Cubs, are punks. Most of the players on both teams were in the middle of the field just to be counted "present." Layne threw out the instigator (Clevenger) and the other Cub who got violent (Corpas) and tossed M. Gonzalez for throwing a match at the embers of a fire that was mostly out. Other umps — unlike hockey referees — got in the middle and made sure folks had an opportunity to cool down. They got it pretty much 100 percent right. I agree with whoever said early in this most that it was a [rare] well-umpired game. Which is unexpected because Vanover is in the Bottom Ten of my list of umpires. Angel Hernandez would have called school bus to carry away the bodies.

  38. Theophilus T. S. - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    I'll quibble a bit about Valbuena and Harper's dash home. Even if no one was covering third, the pitcher should have taken at least one step toward Harper to make him budge — and he didn't. At that point, the tying run was more important than another runner on first. He stood there, looking indecisive, and then panicked about Zimmerman going down the line. Harper read him perfectly. Valbuena was just caught in no-man's land. He, too, could have been more decisive but this one was all on the pitcher.

  39. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Even if no one was covering third, the pitcher should have taken at least one step toward Harper to make him budge — and he didn't.He barely got Zimm as it was, and that was half of what Harper was doing–make Germano take up time so Zimm can beat out a comebacker. With nobody covering third, he could run straight at Harper and nothing changes, except Zimm is safe. Harper knew where Castro was playing, and there was no way he gets to the bag first. Valbueno was in Bryce's line of sight, probably, so he knows, with that reflexive baseball intelligence, that the pitcher *can't* do anything to force him back without giving up the out, and even then, Harper is pretty sure he can still beat it back to third if need be. With nobody covering third, there wasn't a [darned] thing Germano could do.

  40. MicheleS - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Agree that 2 cubs are punks. Anthony Rizzo had nothing but praise for Bryce even after the kerfuffle. Even Sveum showed respect even after the butt kickking they got. "Probably one of the biggest butt-whippings I've gotten in my career, as a coach or player," Sveum said. "I don't remember getting manhandled that bad in any kind of series I've ever been a part of."Here is a link to the Tribune

  41. SCNatsFan - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    sjm, have a great trip. Sounds fun. I think the Cubs just got frustrated and acted out. And if I'm Sveum I'm thinking "this is what I have to look forward to?"And if I'm Ozzy I'm hoping for lots of rain this weekend.

  42. NatsLady - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Just looked up Clevenger's bio on baseballreference.com Doesn't say he's related to any MLB player (they usually post that…). He is, however, from Baltimore. Went to Mount St. Joseph's HS.

  43. natsfan1a - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Off the grid for several days but had to check in when I read about the bench-clearings. Great story, Mark, and some awesome quotes. Glad nobody was hurt. Cubs must be very glad to leave town (and, yes, I still feel sorry for their fans). I'm sure things will settle down now, and that there will be no controversy with Ozzie and the Fish coming to down. Ummm… :-)

  44. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    So was it just yesterday morning that I posted something to the effect that I appreciated the collegial nature of baseball? How the players fraternized on the field? How it avoided the 'everyone on the other team is the enemy' mentality of football? I guess that qualifies as September's least prescient post — at least so far.

  45. TimDz - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    It's no Quirk…Bo KNOWS Baseball..

  46. Steady Eddie - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Sofa — exactly right on Germano's lack of options to get Harp back to third, all of that hinging on Valbueno's mistake of backing up Germano rather than leaving that to Castro. And as usual, Harp had all the acute radar for exactly where everyone was, as the MLB piece on the play showed. (The only mistake in the piece was saying that Germano didn't look at Harp — the fact that he did and Harper still played it perfectly was all the more impressive.sjm — thanks for the info re Clevenger. I have to admit I only started following the Senators when my family moved here in 1963, so I never caught the prior Nats connection.

  47. Section 3, My Hitterish Sofa - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    There was a bunch (a den?) of Cubs fans at the top row of sec. 409, where we sat last night (great view of plays on the third base line, btw), STILL chanting "LET'S go, CUB-bies!" with 2 outs in the ninth, down by 7. Gotta love 'em. I applauded them.

  48. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Big relief yesterday to see Jordan Zimmermann dominate yesterday. Sure, 1st inning HR and some BABIPs that found green grass. Still not sure why with a man on 3rd you don't walk a decent #8 (Barney) with 2 outs a poor hitting pitcher up next, but after that JZim settled down. 9 K's and top velo for the season. JZim also gets to double digit wins! The weekend lines up Stras, Det & EJax. Braves don't have to face RA Dickey this weekend from what I am seeing in the advanced scouting which unfortunately means the Nats will face Dickey next week on Monday in what could be Gio/Dickey in the battle of 18 game winners..

  49. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Steady Eddie said… Sofa — exactly right on Germano's lack of options to get Harp back to third, all of that hinging on Valbueno's mistake of backing up Germano rather than leaving that to Castro. And as usual, Harp had all the acute radar for exactly where everyone was, as the MLB piece on the play showed. (The only mistake in the piece was saying that Germano didn't look at Harp — the fact that he did and Harper still played it perfectly was all the more impressive.In the MLB 360 view piece they made mention that Valbuena had to play the chopper if it got by the pitcher and his momentum took him towards 2nd base, which allowed Harp to get a great secondary lead.The pitcher didn't look at Harp to freeze him and the play at the plate wasn't even close. Props to Bryce Harper on doing that on his own. Just another highlight reel piece!

  50. Steady Eddie - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Just looking at the video clip of the first confrontation between Quirk and Porter. Interesting to notice that Desmond — team's unofficial "captain" — was the first over to start moving Porter away from the dugout, and that Tracy and ALR — big, calm, seasoned vets — were the next over to keep things from getting out of hand (including deterring Cubs on the bench from charging Nats on the field). This is a team with a very tight sense of who's role it is to do what, even when the unexpected occurs.Thanks, Michele, for that Tribune link. One point in there I didn't see in the WaPo stories was Layne's comment that Quirk had been shouting obscenities at Porter to start the whole thing, and "I just felt that was inappropriate and that's what caused everything." Good clarity on the specifics of the initial trigger, and why the umps sorted it out as they did.OTOH, the Trib story described Castillo's throw at Harp as simple an "inside pitch" — yeah, halfway "inside" the batter's box!

  51. Doc - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Clevenger tried to get away with hitting our Kid–he didn't move an inch on that Castillo pitch, and umps probably don't miss things like that. Also, it was on his watch that Desi and Espi stole bases.Other than that, it ranks pretty far down on the Baseball Brawl Scale—even the releif pitchers were laughing on the way in from the pen.Would have like to have seen The Beast eat some Cubbies for lunch, but hey the Nats have more important things to do. And there is always next year in Chicago, if they are on the schedule. Don't think that Mikey is gonna forget real soon!

  52. JD - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Ghost, I thought the same thing last night when they pitched to Barney. I hate when the 8th place hitter beats you. At the same time ZNN made a terrible pitch to Barney. I would also caution about taking too much away from this game re ZNN or anyone else. This is a really bad team we beat up on; AAA +Rizzo,Castro,Soriano and Barney.

  53. Ghost Of Steve M. - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    JD, they are still better than Houston and still capable of winning a game as they almost did on Monday.The Nats stomped them the final 3 games and thats what good teams are supposed to do. It was like what the Nats did in Colorado with the bats and went on a run.

  54. mick - Sep 7, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    I wonder if we are in for some more excitement with Ozzie and the Marlins…. will Ozzie try to provoke Bryce? I thought the Nats handled things well last night. I wonder now if Bryce should have just ignored what happen in hindsight. No question to me that the Cubs are classless who are manged by a bum. I would have liked to have seen Davey go out to the home plate umpire and raise hell about the pitch to Bryce…. but who knows, that could really provoked a brawl

  55. Steady Eddie - Sep 7, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Steve, if you look closely at the clip of Harp's run home, you see Germano glance over at Harp just after he picks up the ball, but if by "look" you mean "look him back" — as Sofa described above, he didn't have time to do that and get Zim at first. Which was Harp's plan all along. Either he stays at third and Zim is safe at first on a routine comebacker, or the play turns out as it did.Maybe it was Valbuena's role to back up the pitcher under the conventional rules for handling plays like that, but that's just another example of how Harper shakes everything up, and how you need different rules when he's on the bases. He knows all the conventional rules and is going to exploit any opening that following those rules creates — like the third baseman's play enabling him to stay further off third. His baseball intelligence is just off the charts.(That pressing the margins of everything is related to why there are so many infield throwing errors when he's going to first, because he makes everyone in the infield a little more hyper about the threats he creates.) Re Dickey, I was hoping we would miss him too, but the Mets' schedule on MLB At Bat lines him up against Stras' last start on the 12th. Might get a bit of TV coverage?

  56. JD - Sep 7, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Ghost, You are right; when you pitch as well as Samardza did on Monday you always have a chance. But the pitchers the Cubs threw out there the last 3 days are not major league caliber.

  57. Candide - Sep 7, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Quirk does some old-fashioned bench-jockeying at Porter.Porter leaves the coach's box to jaw at Quirk and Quirk gets tossed, while Bo is told "Henceforth thou shalt not leave the coach's box."Only possible conclusion: Quirk must have called Porter such an ugly epithet that even the umps were shocked.BTW, later on, we were able to see, from a distance, another dust-up not covered by the TV cameras when a fan down around section 112 got escorted from the park. Two ushers were following close behind when the perp turned around and started screaming in the ushers' faces. Thought for a moment there was going to be a tussle in the stands, but the perp turned back around and made his exit.And speaking of jerks: Some clown in the front row of the Lexus seats with his cell phone in his ear was standing up and waving to his friends back home – "Hey guys! Look at me! I'm on TV." Usher finally came over to him and told him to STFD.All in all, an enjoyable evening at the park.

  58. Candide - Sep 7, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Steady Eddie said…(That pressing the margins of everything is related to why there are so many infield throwing errors when he's going to first, because he makes everyone in the infield a little more hyper about the threats he creates.) Yeah, ever since he hustled a routine single into a double against the loafing Jason Heyward, you can almost see the fielders thinking, "Oh, crap, I gotta hurry or Harper's gonna be safe," immediately followed by, "Oh, crap, another two-base throwing error."You know what should scare the bejesus out of the rest of the league? Not just that he has all this natural talent, hustle, and instincts at 19 – he does – but he seems to be hanging around the dugout with Werth a lot. If there's anyone in that dugout who can teach him to discipline and harness all that intensity in the service of the rest of his talents, it's Werth.

  59. Feel Wood - Sep 7, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    Only possible conclusion: Quirk must have called Porter such an ugly epithet that even the umps were shocked.There is a certain word that begins with 'N'. Also interesting to note that one of the other Nats who was most riled up by the situation was Edwin Jackson.

  60. mick - Sep 7, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    Feel Wood…. i noticed Ejac was peeved, never have seen him that upset, I wonder as well as he is fairly level headed

  61. snopes1 - Sep 7, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    There's no possible way the "n-word" was used. That would leave to huge front page stories and real outrage from the players on both teams. That just couldn't have happened in modern baseball. No reason to start reputation-besmirching rumors.

  62. eeeedcf2-f902-11e1-9242-000bcdcb5194 - Sep 7, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    Quirks final words before Porter came at him were bla$# $%$. I've watched the video numerous times. You can clearly see him say it four seconds in.http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120906&content_id=38015826&vkey=news_was&c_id=was

  63. eeeedcf2-f902-11e1-9242-000bcdcb5194 - Sep 7, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Quirks final words before Porter came at him were bla$# $%$. I've watched the video numerous times. You can clearly see him say it four seconds in.http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120906&content_id=38015826&vkey=news_was&c_id=was

  64. Feel Wood - Sep 7, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    snopes1 said… There's no possible way the "n-word" was used. That would leave to huge front page stories and real outrage from the players on both teams. That just couldn't have happened in modern baseball. No reason to start reputation-besmirching rumors.There are lots of ways to invoke the spirit of the n-word without using the letter of it. And that kind of thing sure as heck can still happen in modern baseball.

  65. Candide - Sep 7, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    snopes1 said…There's no possible way the "n-word" was used. That would leave to huge front page stories and real outrage from the players on both teams. That just couldn't have happened in modern baseball. No reason to start reputation-besmirching rumors.Whatever it was, it was ugly enough that the umps decided to run Quirk and not Porter. I know I've never heard of a player getting ejected for yelling something at another player or coach. Umps, for sure. Players/coaches – nope.I'll bet Quirk is having a very uncomfortable time around the Cubs' black players today…

  66. Candide - Sep 7, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    Feel Wood said…Also interesting to note that one of the other Nats who was most riled up by the situation was Edwin Jackson.Yeah, I noticed that too. Most of the other Nats were just pushing and shoving – Knorr was holding on to EJax like he was his wife to keep him from charging into the fray.And as someone else pointed out, Bo stood quietly in his coach's box after probably having been told that if he left it again, he'd get ejected.

  67. Doc - Sep 7, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    Yeah seems strange Feel Wood–where there's smoke there's fire. Why would Porter, EJax, Beast, and Desi be most involved?? Ejax, in particular, wouldn't have been so irate over something small, given that he wasn't on the field for the game. I mean EJax was totally and utterly seething.Me thinks that there is gonna be some more fallout here!If true, then Jamie Quirk's career is ooooooovvvvvvvvvver!

  68. Dave - Sep 7, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    @A DC Wonk: "Actually, it's possible that only two of them were punks: Quirk and Clemenger."I think you have to put the pitcher Castillo in there as well (at least). He, after all, is the one who actually threw at Harper.

  69. NatsNut - Sep 7, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    My reading of Bryce Harper's lips were, "Really, [MF]? Really?"

  70. dcnatsfan89 - Sep 7, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    i think ejac was just mad that morse got pushed, a teammate sticking up for his other teammate.the only thing i enjoyed seeing from this brawl was werth and zimmerman rushing over to protect harper and keep him away from that mess. it shows true leadership from those two. they know what's really important here, kuddos!

  71. Teresa - Sep 7, 2012 at 10:23 PM

    The funniest and dumbest move of all was when that twerp, Clevenger, tried to shove the Beast. Mike didn't move an inch and the catcher actually fell back as if he had hit a brick wall. LOL! I also believe Clevenger was the one who targeted Harper, not the pitcher. Afterwards, from Clevenger's comments, you would have thought butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. "Hey I was only trying to be peacemaker!" Yeah, you little creep. Next to Quirk, he was the most deserving of being ejected. Both he and Quirk should also be suspended. This whole thing is a real embarrassment on the Cubs organization.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 54 43 --
ATLANTA 54 45 1.0
MIAMI 46 52 8.5
NEW YORK 46 53 9.0
PHILADELPHIA 43 56 12.0
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Nats at Rockies, 8:40 p.m.
WED: Nats at Rockies, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

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MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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