Bryce Harper, Hunter Strickland suspended for setting off Nationals-Giants brawl

He’s the most effective closer in baseball — he has converted 54 consecutive save opportunities dating to September 2015 and is 125-for-133 the past four seasons — but he’s made only nine appearances this season thanks to a forearm strain that’s landed him on the DL twice already. The only reason this problem isn’t higher on this list is his primary replacement, Brad Brach, has done a passable job in his place (10 saves in 13 opportunities). Still, Britton’s absence impacts the entire bullpen in a domino kind of way.

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has been suspended four games and Giants pitcher Hunter Strickland will sit out of six for their roles in a benches-clearing incident Monday at AT&T Park, Major League Baseball announced.

Strickland plunked Harper on the hip with a 98-mph fastball with his first pitch to the Nationals’ star in the eighth inning to set off a brouhaha that ended with Strickland being dragged to the Giants dugout by three of his teammates.

Both Harper and Strickland received an undisclosed fine for fighting. Harper was also knocked for charging the mound and throwing his helmet, MLB said.

The suspensions had been scheduled to be effective Tuesday night, but both players have elected to appeal. The discipline will be held in abeyance until the appeals process is complete.

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