A night after Max Scherzer was checked for foreign substances three different times, he and Ryan Zimmerman poked fun at former Washington Nationals teammate Bryce Harper.
After the conclusion of the first inning of Wednesday's Nationals-Philadelphia Phillies game, the two longest-tenured Washington players got Harper's attention, and he got a kick out of their joke:
Harper proceeded to hit his 10th home run of the season - and second in as many days - in his next at-bat:
Scherzer was in a much less jovial mood during his start Tuesday night, a game that the Nationals eventually won 3-2. The three-time Cy Young Award winner wasn't pleased the first two times that umpires checked him after an inning as part of the league's new crackdown on pitchers using foreign substances. (Scherzer has been accused of acquiring a foreign substance for grip in the past.) He was especially upset when Phillies manager Joe Girardi requested the umpires check Scherzer in the middle of the bottom of the fourth inning:
Girardi was later ejected from the game for stepping out of the Phillies dugout and beginning to walk in the direction of the Nationals dugout as he screamed at some of their coaches. This was right after the bottom of the fifth inning, when Scherzer stared in Girardi's direction for most of his trip back to the dugout:
Tensions didn't cool after the game, with Girardi saying that while he believes Scherzer is a future Hall of Famer, he's never seen him touch his hair as much during a start. Scherzer, a seven-time All-Star, said that he was using the sweat on his head to help him grip the ball.
Prior to Wednesday afternoon's matinee, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo called Girardi "a con artist," a sign that bad blood between these two teams probably isn't going away anytime soon.