The rivalry between the Phillies and Washington Nationals keeps getting hotter.

Roy Halladay tossed another log on the fire Wednesday when he threw a pitch behind the back of Nationals outfielder Tyler Moore. Halladay, pitching on an unusually chilly and blustery Florida day, blamed the wayward pitch on a bad grip. Well, sort of. It’s more plausible that he was making a statement after Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg plunked Chase Utley in the right leg with a fastball the previous inning.

“It slipped,” Halladay said of the pitch to Moore.

He paused.

“A little bit.”

Halladay went on to say that Phillies pitchers need to watch the backs of the team’s hitters. This probably was a case of that.

“I think we do need to protect our guys to an extent,” he said. “I’m not saying that’s what happened – it slipped – but I think that’s important. We’ve had a lot of guys hit over the years and I think as a staff we need to do a good job protecting those guys.”