Appearing on 670 The Score in Chicago, Arrieta said Tuesday: “I don’t think anybody is right or wrong. I thought it was awesome. Every once in a while, it’s refreshing to see two teams emotionally charged getting after it. And when something like that happens versus continuing to chirp and talk about it, why don’t you go out there and see somebody? That’s exactly what happened in the game yesterday.”
During the eighth inning of the game between the Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants, Strickland hit Harper in the hip with a 98 mph fastball. It was the first time the two had met since Harper hit two home runs off Strickland during the 2014 National League Division Series. Harper pointed his bat at the reliever and had some words before rushing the mound, throwing his helmet and then brawling.
On Tuesday, Major League Baseball suspended Harper for four games and Strickland for six, in addition to undisclosed fines. The players are appealing.
“Bryce and Hunter went out there, there were a few punches, they landed one apiece, I believe,” Arrieta said. “And then [Giants starter Jeff] Samardzija comes out of left field and smashes into [Giants outfielder Mike] Morse. I’m pretty sure Harper was lucky that they collided, because Samardzija was coming in to do some damage.”
Arrieta has no problem with two players settling a grudge that way.
“If two guys want to go see each other, let them be in the middle, let them throw some punches, then break it up,” Arrieta said. “I don’t like to see any sucker punches. I do think in the heat of battle if you’re getting hit on the hip with 98, then you should be able to go out and see somebody. I think the umpires handled it well. They let them exchange for a moment, then they tried to break it up.
“What I don’t like to see is a lot of chirping and guys just talking crap to each other. If you got something wrong with a guy, go see him. And then they’ll break it up and continue to play the game.”
Arrieta said that he has never been charged at any level, but he’d be ready.
“If it’s my catcher, I want him to wait and give me an opportunity to do a little damage,” Arrieta told the radio station. “I don’t want it broken up right away. If it happens, I’ll let you know. I’ll be ready. You know, I like my chances toe-to-toe with just about anybody.
“I know Willson [Contreras] would probably beat whoever charges the mound to the mound, but I’ll tell him and Miggy [Montero], ‘Hey, give me 10, 15 seconds to get some work in and then come out and see me.'”