The pitching matchup alone was reason enough for fans to fill Bright House Field on Wednesday.
Roy Halladay against Stephen Strasburg. Living legend against young phenom. Throw in an intense division rivalry, and the tickets were gobbled up.
The two added another familiar wrinkle — plunking batters.
Strasburg started the fireworks in the third inning by beaning Chase Utley on his left leg. Utley was fine, and stayed in the game.
The next inning, Halladay returned the favor. Before pitching to Tyler Moore, Halladay appeared to mention something to second baseman Utley, then proceeded to throw the ball behind Moore. Halladay wasn’t subtle in his denial of guilt after the game.
“It slipped,” Halladay said. “I don’t think you want to do it but, you know, it wouldn’t have been the worst thing had it got him after getting one of our good guys.”
Halladay, who pitched four scoreless innings in the 6-3 win, went on to say the Phillies need to do a better job of protecting their hitters. The Phillies and Nationals are no stranger to this charade, as Cole Hamels’ May 7 fastball found the small of then-rookie Bryce Harper’s back last season.
Hamels admitted to intentionally hitting Harper as a rookie hazing mechanism.
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