Category Archives: Washington Nationals

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Bryce Harper Starts his Memorial Day Weekend by tagging Sean O’ Sullivan again

[Box Score]

Bryce Harper’s home runs are piling up so quickly that you actually begin to forget them all. What you don’t forget is that he owns this sloppy right-hander from Philadelphia named O’Sullivan.

It would be the third home run that Bryce Harper has hit off O’Sullivan this season.

Bryce Harper is completely dominating right now. What you don’t see on the video clip is he had a pretty good at-bat against O’Sullivan prior to hitting this screaming line drive out the direct other way in Washington (not a hitter’s park), and this isn’t a towering home run or anything. But if a left-handed hitter hitting a line drive to left field for a single is a ‘nice piece of hitting’, what is it when he hits that line to left field and it goes 380 feet?

The answer is, it’s the best young power hitter in the game today. Ironic that it is Memorial Day weekend, when all things in baseball that you see are real; and Bryce Harper is on a 62-home run pace during his age 22 season. He’s been so good that it’s brought back the Harper vs. Trout debate somehow. There is talk of Harper and Nelson Cruz giving us a record home run chase this season, which seems premature at this point. Or does it?

As for the game – these Nationals are pretty exciting to watch. They have won 18 of their last 22 games. If you have been paying attention, they have shown you they can win the 2-1 with brilliant pitching from a Max Scherzer or they can slug it out with you and win 10-8 if their starter lets them down. They aren’t at full strength, but they are very, very good.

As for baseball handicapping, we were confident enough in the Nationals last night to bet them at -270 odds. If you had them at an online betting sportsbook like CarbonSports.ag you would have received a line similar to this that pays you $100 for that $270 bet.

Bryce Harper homers against his favorite team, the Yankees

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How do you begin the week after you have been named National League Player of the Week for two consecutive weeks (he’s just the 10th player in Major League history to achieve this feat)? You hit a home run against your favorite boyhood team.

Bryce Harper was clearly looking fastball from Nate Eovaldi, but it didn’t matter in the end. It wasn’t the longest home run Bryce Harper has hit, but it definitely was impressive. Harper gets bat to the ball on an offspeed pitch down in the zone, and the pitch lands in the front row of right-center field at Nationals Park.

This was the 15th home run of Harper’s 2015 season. My daughter, who is six months old today; sat calmly on my lap just before her bedtime to watch this at-bat of Harper’s against who my wife says is her favorite team, the Yankees. In the first baseball season of her life; through 40 team games played, Bryce Harper is on a 61-home run pace.

The Nationals won the game 8-6 in extra innings on a Ryan Zimmerman walk-off home run.

Bryce Harper homers out the backdoor in San Diego, does everything else too

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[Box Score]

If you watched Bryce Harper this weekend, you saw just about everything there was to see done by a player on a baseball field. He put up a pretty insane weekend in baseball’s finest pitcher’s landscape, Petco Park.

On Saturday, he didn’t homer; so you didn’t get a post. But he did bunt for a hit (finally), and get on base three times. He also stole a bag Friday night.

On Sunday, Harper tripled, infield singled, and finished off the Padres with a three-run line shot to the direct opposite field off Dale Thayer.

It was his 14th home run of the season and Stephen Strasburg was the winning pitcher in a 10-5 ballgame. Right now, at age 22, on this date; it’s hard to argue that Harper is not the best player on the planet. He has a Barry Bonds slash-line right now.

Bryce Harper makes Petco Park Play Small

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[Box Score]

On the night that the Washington Nationals caught the New York Mets in the win column, Bryce Harper wrestled away the National League lead in home runs from Todd Frazier. He homered off a guy who isn’t famous enough to have a post tag on this blog named Shawn Kelley. Kelley was just trying to mop-up for Odrisamer Despaigne and Harper caught an off-speed pitch for his 13th home run of the 2015 season.

Harper also singled twice and walked. His current slash line sits at .317/.460/.690, which is Barry Bondsian. If he manages to stay healthy, he’s going to put together a special season for everyone that has been so patiently or impatiently waiting on it.

Michael Taylor’s Grand Slam steals another series for the Nationals

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[Nationals 9, DBacks 6]

Since one of the first times we saw Michael Taylor, we liked the looks of him as a ballplayer. The kid looks like a nice athlete, smooth gliding speed and some thunder in his bat.

He was only in the game yesterday because Bryce Harper got ejected. Harper doubled and stole his first bag of the year before getting tossed.

But it was Michael Taylor who saved my bet, saved the Nationals, and took a piece of Addison Reed he can never have back.

Alright, so I’ve decided after seeing a good bit of Michael Taylor; he reminds me a little bit of Reggie Sanders. I really think this is a great comp, and I think it’s fair to say because I saw a TON of 1992 to 1998 Reggie Sanders. I am proud of my comp.

I don’t know where, and I don’t know how, but there will be a spot somewhere in the big leagues playing every day for a guy like Michael Taylor.

Bryce Harper adds an Arizona Rubby to his gemstone collection (Home Run no. 12)

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[Box Score]

I think Rubby De La Rosa is a nice little arm, to be honest. I am probably in the minority; but he’s caught my eye. Bryce Harper is so torrid right now, he hits a pitcher’s pitch out of that great run-scoring environment by simply putting barrel to ball.

Now we warn you before watching, this is not your typical, beautiful Harper swing. He’s just insanely locked in. And this ball is getting out in that good humidity out there in Scottsdale.

At the end of the day, the Nationals lost the game 14-6 and things got out of hand because Stephen Strasburg has not yet tapped into his vast potential. But let it be written that Bryce Harper recorded his 67th career home run and 12th of the 2015 season off a pretty good young arm in Rubby De La Rosa.

The Week Bryce Harper became a Generational Superstar

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If we are going to bring back the Hard Hittin’ Mark Whiten Memorial Player of the Week, it must to make a comeback with the week that Bryce Harper just closed out.

No matter what Harper does from this point forward, he just closed out what was probably the best week of his career. Displaying power to all fields, Harper had a three-homer game, a two-homer game, and a walk-off job in three consecutive games. Mixed in with all those damn homers were a bunch of line drives up the middle and through the left side. He also doubled 400 feet to center today and added another single.

He’s just really hitting well right now – and the walks were already in the equation.

We have ALWAYS really loved Harper, tantalized by his talents that he would show from time to time but frustrated that injuries and his own (understandable) immaturity was keeping him from tapping into this vast potential. A potential that we think could see him become a Derek Jeter type of ambassador of the sport; a guy that kids ask you about someday when you’re old (“you really saw Bryce Harper play in person?”).

If you’ve been admittedly nervous about Harper’s development, it’s time to relax some. Barring injury, this breakout is real. Just watch him some night. He’s been having the quality at-bats all year long, his swing is perfect right now; and he’s staying on pitches a lot longer than ever before in his career. The homer binge should continue unless pitchers just decide it’s easier to go after Ryan Zimmerman and Wilson Ramos, which is a likely outcome. In that case, he’s going to achieve a .400 on-base and a .900 OPS in his sleep which at age 22 is what you call a star player.

This will forever be the week that he announced his great presence in the game. It should never be forgotten.

Bryce Harper Hits a Saturday Afternoon Walk-Off, Sixth Home Run in Three Games

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[Box Score]
[WaPo]

“It’s not that I’m hot, it’s just how I hit the ball,” Bryce Harper told Ken Rosenthal shortly after walking off some poor soul named Cody Martin (who looked like he had semi-decent stuff). It doesn’t really matter right now what kind of stuff you have. Bryce Harper is on one of the most incredible hot streaks in modern baseball history.

And we think anyone who has watched the last few days kind of had a feeling after Jayson Werth struck out, runner on first; that Harper was going to put one in the seats to end the game.

No one, will ever forget this Ruthian run that Harper has put together at age 22. No matter what happens from here.

It was Harper’s 11th home run of the season, his 66th of his career. He’s not going to be stuck in the 60’s for too long if he keeps at this pace. He now leads the National league in home runs and walks, is second in runs scored and RBI, and fourth in runs scored.

Unanimous NL MVP selection if he doesn’t get hurt.

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Bryce Harper homers twice more; cannot be stopped right now

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Fangraphs recently pointed out that Bryce Harper is getting his pitch, staying on it longer, and not missing them. They of course went into a detailed explanation of the ‘why’ behind the fury you’re seeing.

Tonight he tagged poor Eric Stults and some guy trying to just get through his first major league inning named Williams Perez (Perez recorded one out). Two more home runs, ten on the year, and he surpasses a guy named Mark McGwire as the youngest player in baseball history to hit five home runs in two games.

Harper completely took the game over to get the Nationals back to .500, displaying more power to all fields. There isn’t much more to be said other than I’m not sure you’ll ever see a guy this white hot at the plate. This is the pinnacle of ‘locked in’.

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While you were working, Bryce Harper had his career game today

[Box Score]
[Washington Post]

No matter how many games that Bryce Harper plays, this is the one you’ll always remember. No matter what happens from this day forth, this was probably the moment you can say he came out and said ‘I am a star’ with his play. There’s no turning back from this moment, I don’t think.

This feat could not have been achieved without the stubborn efforts of Tom Koehler. Koehler simply would not give in today – usually when you say that about a pitcher you are saying that the pitcher refuses to give the hitter something to hit. This was the opposite. Koehler continued to challenge Harper on a day when he was a man possessed with fastballs up in the zone and finally in his third at-bat he thew some kind of hybrid pitch that didn’t work either. Instead of just putting Harper on base that third at-bat, Koehler went right into the mouth of the beast and when it landed in the upper deck you could tell that Koehler had been completely defeated. Stripped of his manhood for the day.

Tom Koehler, Bryce Harper just made you famous.

When a guy hits three home runs in a game; and he’s already a prodigal son, he starts getting mentioned with the greats.

No Yankee hit three homers in a game for almost five years until Mickey Mantle did it on May 13, 1955, against the Tigers. He drove home all the Yankee runs in the 5-2 win. Mantle hit all his homers into the center field bleachers and hit the first two from the left side of the plate and the third as a righty. The Times estimated that the shots traveled around 1,300 feet.

There is some similarity here folks. Mickey Mantle’s three home run game took place one week in May after Harper’s; some 60 years earlier. Mantle was 23, Harper was 23. The linescore by Mantle’s name: 4 3 4 5. The linescore by Harper’s name: 4 3 3 5. I haven’t seen the measurements, but Harper’s three home runs probably traveled around 1,300 feet; like Mantle’s. Both came in wins in front of the home crowd.

Two of Harper’s three home runs were gargantuan blasts into the upper deck of Nationals park where they just don’t get home run balls. If you’re at that park live, it doesn’t look like someone can hit a ball up there. The first home run of the day for Harper was a long opposite field shot that almost cleared the bullpen.

Here they are, in all their glory. All three of Bryce Harper’s home runs today.

Home run number one:

Home run number two:

Home run number three:

Another fun fact: we went to college with Joe Lahoud’s son.

The Nationals sent the Mets a message over the weekend

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I caught a lot of the last two Nationals/Mets tilts in Queens the past two days, a pair of 1-0 wins by the Nationals where their four and five starters showed phenomenal stuff, enough stuff to shut out the team with the best record in the division.

To me, that is very telling. Gio Gonzalez was phenomenal last night (made papa some money) and Doug Fister threw 6 and 1/3 scoreless without walking anyone to get the win today.

The Nationals won these two games on an infield RBI single by Michael Taylor and a bloop single today by Ryan Zimmerman.

It was the type of series that reminds you of the way things are really going to be by season’s end, that the Mets are a simple small sample size anomaly that worked without completely breaking down for 25 or so games.

No matter how many times Terry Collins came out of the dugout to get in the umpire’s ass this weekend, it just didn’t matter. The Nationals were the better team with the worse record and took three of four at Citi Field.

When (and if) the Nationals ever get the health of their full roster restored, they’ll probably go on some type of run that turns everyone’s heads. They really aren’t even playing that well right now, just grinding.

The Nats were destined to get an Uggla Win

I watched a lot of this one on the side last night, and it was a wild one. You look at the final score of 13-12, and you can venture to guess that some odd things happened.

Washington came in to this game having lost six straight contests (Matt Williams is so terrible), and found themselves in a 9-1 hole in the third inning.

In this game:

  • The Nationals got home runs from Denard Span, Jose Lobaton, and Dan Uggla. The Uggla bomb was the kill shot. I bet Jason Grilli feels like he slept with a Sasquatch woman last evening.
  • Julio Teheran started for the Braves, and highly-regarded Nationals prospect A.J. Cole made his big league debut for the Nats.
  • Luis Avilan and Jason Grilli blew this lead allowing six runs; they were collectively worse than Blake Treinen and Tanner Roark who did everything they could to keep the Nationals on their losing streak.
  • Freddie Freeman and A.J. Pierzynski had four hits each.
  • Look at what Lobaton, Span and freaking Uggla did as far as damage! Thirteen hits, three homers, nine batted in.

So the Nationals are off the schneid. We actually aren’t going to say that this is the win that turns their season around. They’re still in deep shit, and Matt Williams is still their skipper.

But it’s a wild game with an ending that was obviously destined to be ‘Uggla’. I bet Uggla felt good doing that to the team that cast him aside without concern.

Bryce Harper visits an old friend in South Beach

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[Box Score]

Seasons ago, Danny Haren and Bryce Harper were teammates. It was back in the 2013 season when Davey Johnson treated Haren like he was Gomer Pyle in the team barracks.

Haren has been in a few different clubhouses since that season, and the unlikely paths of Harper and Haren crossed for the first time. The ball landed in the bullpen for a 1-0 Washington lead, and the 60th home run of Harper’s career.

Haren somehow smoke and mirrored the Nationals for another couple innings and the Nationals dropped the game 6-2. The Nationals were swept out of town in Miami this weekend and now have the worst record in their division at 7-12.

Bryce Harper has five home runs in the 2015 season and 60 for his career.