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Postgame: 'It wasn't a very good game'

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Jose Fernandez

Here are Clint Hurdle's beautiful and poignant sentiments on the tragic death of Jose Fernandez.

Dusty Baker expressed his condolences after the game:

You think your own kids, or the young players here. Nobody wants to outlive their kids. The first thing that came to my mind is, you never know. The day is coming. You talk about TuPac, and he said his death was around the corner. In reality, it is. It doesn't have a season, a holiday or anything. ... I wish his family the best.


Slowly played

Baseball's pace of play problem was on full display Sunday afternoon at PNC Park. Over the course of four tedious hours, the Nationals and Pirates competed in a largely meaningless game. It was a laborious, exhausting and aesthetically brutal display of the pastime. Played at steady rhythm, baseball easily sweeps one up into the organic, slow-building tension of a tight contest. Played at Sunday's pace, the beauty of the sport gives way to boredom, mind-wandering and indifference.

Sunday's game included 11 walks, 21 hits, 17 pitchers and involved 46 players (which ties a MLB record).

"It wasn't a very good game," Baker said afterwards. "We won the game but it wasn't very good game on either side."

Fake tag, retaliation and escalation

A scrum broke out in the bottom of the third after A.J. Cole threw a pitch behind Jung-ho Kang. As the benches cleared, the mercurial Sean Rodriguez found himself in the middle of things. Reminiscent of last year's Wild Card game, Rodriguez escalated the issue until he was dragged towards the bench by Gerrit Cole and David Freese. Dusty Baker did his part by pointing toward the Pirates dugout after things broke up. Of course, Baker's action prompted Rodriquez to gesture back in-kind, which led to further restraining protocols.

The whole thing originated from a fake tag that Kang placed on Bryce Harper, as the right fielder slid into third base on a triple. Kang's action forced Harper to awkwardly adjust his slide and the right fielder jammed his thumb. Harper left the game after being checked on by the National's trainer. There was some chirping between the Pirates' bench and Baker after the play.

"The first thought in the my head was that I tore my UCL again," Harper said. "In that moment, I kind of wanted to punch the guy."

Harper described that the fake tag at third as "not good for the game, not part of the game,"

"It's something I don't want to see, it's something a lot of guys don't want to see," Harper said. "It's just a bad play. The ball is up the line, you just shouldn't do it."

Baker said that Harper's status is day-to-day.

For his part, Kang said that he wasn't trying to "harm" anyone, and he was just trying to keep the runner at third.

"Jung-ho felt he needed to find a way to prevent that runner from scoring," Hurdle said. "Fake tags are made a lot. It's not the first fake tag ever made in the game. Their third base coach also has a responsibility to read the play and help the runner."

As for the pitch that instigated the scrum, Cole said he was just trying to execute the scouting report and get the ball up-and-in on Kang's hands, but the ball got away from him.

Sean Rodriguez described what happened on the field after the pitch:

"I came out there and stood by Jung-ho just to make sure nobody was coming at him and I was calmly talking to [Jose] Lobaton, a former teammate of mine, and just told him, ‘Man that was dirty.'" Rodriguez said. "His first response to me was ‘I know, it went up by his head. I get it.' So I'm calmly just sitting there just trying to understand out how you could come out and defend a guy that threw a ball behind someone's head for whatever reason. I guess that is what got me going a little bit. And then Oliver Perez basically started chirping and telling me ‘What, you want me?' and, I said, ‘You want it you come get it. It's up to you.'"

Tyler Glasnow still finding his way

Before Sunday's game, Neal Huntington said that club was looking for Tyler Glasnow to rediscover the aggressive approach he used in the minors.

"For some reason he backed off a little bit and instead of attacking he tried to pitch maybe more than we needed him to," Huntington said.

Glasnow ran into trouble right out of the chute. The Nationals collected three runs on two hits, three stolen bases, a walk and an error in the first. For the start, Glasnow lasted three innings, allowed four runs (three earned) and seven hits. He walked one and struck out five.

"Unfortunately, he was behind in the count against half the hitters he faced," Hurdle said. "Fastball command was below average. The curveball had better command but wasn't executed repeatedly. ... It’s another opportunity to learn and grab some experience from."

Glasnow was frustrated by performance but he is confident that his stuff will come return.

"Pretty below average, my stuff hasn’t been as sharp," Glasnow said. "It’ll come back. I know it will. I’ve been that guy."

Unclear whether Marte or Feliz will return this season

The Pirates are still not sure whether Starling Marte will play again this season. According to Neal Huntington, Marte's body is "not cooperating" and the back issue continues to linger.

"Ideally you'd always like a player to know that he is healthy as he heads into the offseason," Huntington said.

The same goes for Neftali Feliz.

"We want to make sure that we put him in a position to be successful," Huntington said. "If that means he gets an inning or three, it means he gets an inning or three. If he doesn't, then it means the body just didn't cooperate."