Category Archives: Washington Nationals

Bryce Harper continues his assault of the Mets pitching staff in New York

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Bryce Harper is just a great bet to succeed any time he’s playing in New York. Tonight he hit what play by play guy Bob Carpenter called fittingly, a ‘Ruthian Clout’ into the upper deck in right field. It was one of three hits Harper collected in a Nationals win, and he also walked.

This long home run comes off a promising young arm in Zack Wheeler, who Harper was previously 1 for 11 against with six strikeouts. Another pretty good arm that Harper adds to his wall of big game pelts.

As the below graphic will show, Harper has really slaughtered the baseball at Citi Field. His 13th home run of the 2014 season was his sixth career home run in New York.

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You look at Harper’s numbers in what hasn’t exactly been the breakout season everyone hoped for, and he’s had one of the best stretches of his career quietly since August 1st (.284, 10 HR, 19 RBI).

Bryce Harper hits a monster home run off Craig Kimbrel

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Bryce Harper’s power has fully returned. As evidenced by this swing against his greatest nemesis, he might still have holes in his swing; but Craig Kimbrel found a part of the zone where such a hole does not exist.

The Nationals lost the game 6-2, and this came in the bottom of the ninth in a non-save situation. But Harper has taken some impressive pitcher’s deep this season, with the last two being Kimbrel and Clayton Kershaw.

It’s the classic power vs. power match-up that people always want to see at the park. Possibly the most-feared right-handed closer in the game against the young phenom made famous from his pre-highschool YouTube home runs. He was previously 1 for 7 with five strikeouts against Kimbrel, and it looked like he was headed for a sixth.

The home run was the 12th of Harper’s 2014 season and 54th in his career.

Bryce Harper homers off Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium

Clayton Kershaw was so good, so on his game last evening in Los Angeles that he only allowed three hits in eight innings of work. This was the only one that counted for anything in a Dodgers 4-1 win.

No sooner did Vin Scully finish telling viewers of the broadcast that Bryce Harper was a ‘pleasant fellow’ when the lightning quick bat flipped through the zone; and oh-my-gosh Bryce Harper just took the game’s best pitcher deep into the Chavez Rivine night to legit right-center on a night when he’s got his best stuff.

In our opinion, that’s why this one – the 53rd home run of Bryce Harper’s big league career – is his most epic yet. It came on a night when he started in centerfield, at a ballpark where he’s had a season of his career wrecked.

It’s obvious that there are just few left-handed hitters in the game who can do this to Kershaw. It’s obvious that this shows what Harper is capable of when he’s right and he’s on. But more than anything it’s just epic that he took top-of-his-game Kershaw out to those deep yellow bleachers in a pitchers’ park on a night when Kershaw was nearly unhittable (and had owned Harper pretty good in the first two at-bats).

Bryce Harper took a liking to Safeco Field

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Baseball can be such an odd game. With Bryce Harper struggling all season long, he hit two monster home runs in two at-bats in a pitcher’s park against Hishashi Iwakuma; a guy who doesn’t surrender a lot of long balls.

The Nationals still ended up losing the game 5-3 the day before Labor Day.

In all, Harper had three home runs in the series and now has ten on the year. He had three hit games in the Friday and Sunday games when Felix Hernandez and Iwakuma were the starting pitchers.

Bryce Harper’s Seattle Debut is a Good one

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Fifty times now we’ve done a Bryce Harper Home Run post. Last night in his first career game at Safeco Field in Seattle, Harper collected three hits including two singles off King Felix Hernandez.

The Nationals homered four times off Felix – the first time that’s ever happened in his career – and the Harper and Wilson Ramos went back to back off Joe Beimel.

The Nationals won the game 8-3.

My friend vists Nats Park; Bryce Harper visits the Right Field Foul Pole

My buddy/former fraternity brothers Brent and Ryan from DC were present at the Nationals game yesterday to see the masterpiece of a game the Nats put together in slaughtering the San Francisco Giants 14-6 to take yet another series from a National League foe.

When they paid for their ticket and got to their seats, they had no idea that they were about to be at a Bryce Harper Home Run game. But it was exactly that. When Bryce Harper homered off the Giants J.C. Gutierrez, it was the 49th of his career; and his seventh of the season.

My friends also got to see Harper’s first home run that went off a foul pole in any park, and a Stephen Strasburg start (he got rocked).

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And if you haven’t read it yet – here’s a great read from the Washington Post by Adam Kilgore that details Bryce Harper’s bat usage. It is VERY interesting. If it ever seemed to you that Bryce Harper never uses the same bat twice, it’s because he really doesn’t.

The Washington Nationals are an on-fire, well-oiled machine

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We literally didn’t even have time to get the post up about last night’s walk-off win that gave the Nationals nine in a row; and they’ve tallied yet another one this afternoon to make it ten wins in a row.

Last night proceeded as if it was drawn up straight out of a Mike Rizzo wet dream. The Nationals won in the bottom of the ninth inning, 3-2. Bryce Harper led off the inning with a rip job single off a full-count pitch, his third hit of the game. Kevin Frandsen moved him to third with a single of his own. Then Anthony Rendon provided the big hit to give the Nationals what has seemed like a month of walk-off wins.

They’re 73-53, and as we predicted before the second half began; they’re running away with the National League east race. It’s over. They’re on one of those rare rolls that you see a team get on once every couple seasons – the Nationals have never played ball like this. Absolutely everything is working. The pitching staff is giving a quality outing each night and it seems like a different guy in the lineup steps up one game after another. Span, LaRoche, Harper, Rendon, Desmond, Ramos, Werth; they’re all taking turns carrying the torch. It’s a lot of fun to watch.

They’ve totaled five walk-off-wins in their last six games; this is not something you see often in the game. It is to be appreciated.

Anonymous Scout rips Bryce Harper, says Nationals may look to trade him

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Baseball Prospectus has a new feature that might be enough to get us to ante up for a subscription. The new feature is called “What Scouts are Saying”, and this morning in the Washington Post we were clued into an interesting tidbit offered by an anonymous scout.

Here’s the dirt:

He’s only 21 years old and there is a lot of talent there, but we are starting to reach the point where there may be cause for concern. He has not had a good year, and his hitting mechanics are all screwed up. It’s as if he is almost jumping at the ball. He comes out of his swing so hard and fast. He plays out of control all the time, in every facet of his game, and it’s clear he has become a distraction to Matt Williams. It would not surprise me if they end up trading Harper for a young arm and hold on to Denard Span.

You had to know something like this would surface. The problem with this is scouts often offer an opinion that frames the ‘right now’ in things rather than the big picture. When Harper was drafted they’re the same people who offered that he was the next Mickey Mantle with Joe Mauer’s hit tool. Hell, this scout that says this could be working as a dump truck dispatcher in a year’s time. It doesn’t really mean anything to be honest, but it’s interesting to note that insiders of the game really do see flaws in Harper’s mechanics and this is the first confirmation that; yes, Harper’s stock has fallen significantly.

A BP author responded in the comments section:

We’re providing these quotes to give the perspective that a lot of people in the industry have extremely different and varying thoughts on players. That’s the goal. This isn’t an article on our opinion or the value of Harper. It’s to show what others in the business think. And for what it’s worth, this particular individual wasn’t the only one who didn’t have a glowing review of Bryce. I caution people too…there’s a lot more information people “in” the game know than the public or even us at BP. I’m pretty sure nobody expected a number of the guys at the deadline to be dealt either (like Cespedes), but they were.

We love scoutspeak. We need more of it. Even if it’s like reading pro wrestling rumors.

Bryce Harper visits the Dunkin’ Donuts sign in Queens again

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Bryce Harper has been here before.

We ask you to think back to a time when he was on top of the baseball world. It was April of 2013, and he homered off the Dunkin’ Donuts sign in right center field at Citi Field. he hit two monstrous home runs that day.

Thus far in his young career, he has homered against the Mets more than any other team. He has half his home run total this season against New York. Dillon Gee kept throwing balls right down the pipe, and Harper connected with one of his longest home runs of the year.

It was a picture perfect night for Washington, as they won the game 4-1 with Stephen Strasburg throwing seven great innings.

Also, we won a Home Run Derby on MLB ’14 The Show with Harper tonight. Here’s a shot of that:

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You can’t knock Bryce Harper’s power to all fields

In the Nationals 7-1 victory on Tuesday evening, Bryce Harper hit another ball out to left field. It was the fourth in his career at Citi Field. It should be no secret that he absolutely kills the Mets.

And when you scroll back through Harper’s career homers, he’s hit a fair number of home runs to straight away left field. Of all the parts of Harper’s game that you wish maybe were a little different, the one thing the scouts have been right about is his auspicious power to all fields. He’s just as likely to homer the other way as he is to any part of the park.

Harper now has five home runs on the season and 47 in his career.

Atlanta’s panties in a bind over Bryce Harper’s gamesmanship

The Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals locked up in a late night game that didn’t get underway until almost 11 PM on the east coast due to a lengthy rain delay. The Nationals won the game 4-1 in 11 innings, but as it often happens when two rivals get together, the final score was the secondary story.

I didn’t notice this while watching the game live, but saw a tweet from David O’Brien that alerted me about it. Bryce Harper appeared to scuff the Braves ‘A’ behind home plate before stepping into the batters box every time up.

Of course, this sent Braves fans into an uproar. Saying that Harper didn’t respect their logo (he doesn’t need to), and generally leading them to say that the kid lacks all kinds of respect and whatnot.

I think it’s great. For all the unbecoming things Harper has accomplished this season – hitting .250, getting hurt a lot, base-running blunders what seems like every other night – this is what’s great about the kid. He isn’t stupid and is simply stirring up the rivalry. Of course he probably has programmed himself to hate playing Atlanta, especially in Atlanta; a team that has been the Nationals very own House of Horrors.

At the end of the day, baseball is entertainment. Some argue that it’s not entertaining enough. They’re nuts, of course. But that’s what people say. When something like this goes down, it should make the public crave more of these two getting together. Like, what the Hell is going to happen tonight when they face off on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN after they’ve had a night to sleep on Harper scuffing their prize logo?

Good for Harper.

The Home Run Bryce Harper Desperately Needed

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[Box Score]

Bryce Harper came under fire, and the volcano reached it’s apex point yesterday with talk that he should be sent to the minors, sent to the Disabled List, and other general diatribes mapping out how he’s ruined himself.

The Nationals locked up in a 13-inning game with the Mets yesterday afternoon in DC. While the baseball world had it’s eyes on Javier Baez, the game of baseball and it’s irony reared pointed the finger at those who had beeen wondering if Harper had lost it.

And to be honest – no one will believe this – I knew Bryce Harper was hitting a walk-off home run to win this game. I had the game on the radio and actually thought it was going to come in the 11th off Buddy Carlyle. He singled off him. Two innings later, I just shook my head when my premonition came to life. This was probably Harper’s best swing of the season, all things considered. It was an outside fastball that caught too much of the plate, and hopefully this stinging contact allowed him to realize that he has the natural power to hit balls out the other way. Harper’s power to all fields is probably what we’ve remained the most impressed about through his whole career, even with his struggles. Lately, teams have built a book on him that has seen them go away on the outer half of the plate with hard stuff to get him out.

This is the type of swing that could get Harper on a tear for the rest of the season.

The Night the Reds offense Put me to sleep at the Ballpark

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[Box Score]

[Cincinnati.com]

I went down to Cincinnati last night with my buddy Joe to see Bryce Harper take some cuts. I was one of the 38,812 last night in a stadium that seemed packed to the rafters. A stadium that was so very quiet all night long because the Reds collected just four hits and as they so often do when the stadium is a sell-out; they just let down.

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Jayson Werth didn’t get any knocks last night, here he is after reaching base on a walk.

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One of the cool parts of the game was a Bald Eagle flying in from center field after the National Anthem. I think his name was Sam the Eagle.

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Alfredo Simon just didn’t have it last evening. He went 4 and 1/3, gave up nine hits and three earned runs. Denard Span owned the Reds last night, tuning them up for four hits on his own.

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Man, Jay Bruce is really struggling. He didn’t really sting anything all night long, and he’s down now to .219 on the season. I don’t know what is wrong with him. I hate to say it, but perhaps he just needs a change of scenery. There’s no reason for a player of his caliber to be having a season like this. Star players simply do not struggle in this matter. It’s painful to sit back and watch him endure.

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The biggest thing that Bryce Harper did last night was robbing Billy Hamilton of extra bases with a web gem, top-ten catch. It appeared that he re-injured himself at first. Always the fear with Harper. We’ve got video of the catch below:

Harper went 1 for 4 with a hit off Alfredo Simon, a walk, and a run. I didn’t realize during the game that he actually tweaked his stance again.

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Here is the Budweiser Party Deck out in Right Field. It was a happening spot last night on a beautiful Friday evening just off the river. One of the only spots that Reds fans could generate any excitement. One of my friends who texted me while I was at the game remarked that ‘beer sales were probably up last night’. He had to have been correct. I had six on my own in about forty minutes. That combined with the Reds offense made me feel really tired.

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Baseball Gods: help Jay Bruce turn this thing around.

With a new & improved stance, Bryce Harper takes K-Rod Deep

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It was obvious at one quick glance that something was different about Bryce Harper’s stance this Friday evening in Washington. It almost looks as if he tore a page out of Adam Laroche’s book with his new-look adjustment at the plate. He looks more relaxed and was able to get himself into a hitting position by simplifying his hands; not holding them as high as the past Harper would have.

The results were tremendous: a line drive single to right, a single back up the box, and he turned on a 93-MPH Francisco Rodriguez fastball to right field in the bottom of the ninth.

As great as K-Rod has been for most of this season for Milwaukee, this is definitely a good sign.

I watched a good portion of this game, and it was a frustrating one for the Nationals. They banged out 11 total hits, with ten coming off Kyle Lohse. It just seemed they could never capitalize on scoring opportunities. Stephen Strasburg had a weird night. It seemed like his stuff was entirely nasty and he was missing a ton of bats (nine strikeouts), but the Brewers made it hurt when they connected with a couple of home runs and bases clearing double. This too often is the Strasburg the Nationals are getting when they need a true, frontline ace to take hold of their division.

The Nationals lost by a final of 4-2.