Category Archives: Washington Nationals

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Bryce Harper Kicks off the 4th of July with Fireworks off Madison Bumgarner

Bryce Harper has taken a piece of Madison Bumgarner before. Today’s blast had it’s own special story to it though. We’ve already covered his usage of the patriotic stars and stripes bat for the game today. Since he hit this home run off a guy we really don’t like very much against a team we loathe for their winning ways (they’re boring), this home run was really for America.

The home run was Harper’s 25th of the season. The Nationals continued to do their thing on July 4th like they seemingly do every year, winning 9-3 in a game that everything seemed to bounce their way.

Bryce Harper is hitting over .330 off lefties and slugging over .600 for the year. He collected a double and single in addition to the homer. He has a 50 home run season within his sights.

Bryce Harper anoints Father’s Day with a Home Run Blast

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How would Bryce Harper follow up Saturday’s 23rd home run of the season on Father’s Day? With his 24th of the year off Charlie “Chuck” Morton of course. The Nationals scored nine runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-2 easy win. This was the swing that got them on the board first.

At end of watch today, Harper was hitting .345 with 24 home runs and 57 RBI. He’s on a 56 home run, 132 RBI pace.

Bryce Harper reaches a new career high in home runs on a day he wasn’t supposed to play

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We weren’t expecting much from Bryce Harper today. His season almost ended the other night and he was facing Francisco Liriano who has been the ‘Lights Out’ version lately.

Harper answered the bell, and until the whole Max Scherzer Perfect Game thing took over as the game’s biggest storyline; without a doubt it was Harper’s mammoth home run onto the lawn in center that would have grabbed headlines.

It looked like an 86 MPH slider he hit out to dead center.

I think when Harper got started on this home run binge, a lot of people figured we were seeing the breakout of a tremendous power hitter. As evidenced all year long and by his next at bat when he hit a single through the left side (he uses the whole field often), we are just seeing the development of a great all-around hitter. This is a guy who could pretty easily win a batting title it looks like and someone who perennially could be over the .300 mark.

There’s just no great book on how to get him out, which is why you see some of the hottest pitchers in the league surrendering hits and homers to him regularly.

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Max Scherzer’s Almost Perfect Game No-Hitter

[Nationals 6, Pirates 0]

Big time baseball history on back to back days.

And Max Scherzer was so close to baseball immortality. Not that a no-hitter is anything to roll your eyes about. It’s still baseball immortality. And his last two games have seen him throw 18 innings, allow one hit and strike out 26 hitters. But that little son of a bitch Jose Tabata! A guy who has absolutely done nothing but disappoint me, every Pirates fan out there, and piss off his teammates in spring training. He’s on the last legs of his career here. The game was out of reach; and Tabata leans into one.

The funny part of this is that I have several friends who are fans of other teams; and they all said the same thing “I’m genuinely pissed right now about that” via text. I felt the same way.

Most pitchers as a whole; they bore me. To me, they’re all like NFL kickers. They come and they go. They’re interchangeable parts. They’re volatile. I like hitters. I like offense. I don’t feel this way about Scherzer though. I like watching him throw. He blows away hitters and when he does it feels like you’re watching a home run. It’s exciting. He’s stomping around the mound like a damn condor and he’s animated. He’s all ate up and into it. He’s firing up his teammates. Max Scherzer is what pitching should look like.

Might I say that the last two outings have signaled a full changing of the guard? If I was locked in a jail for life and I was allowed by the courts to send one pitcher to the mound to win the game and get me out of jail; it would be Scherzer. It’s him and then everyone else right now in my mind.

And my daughter behaved magically in that ninth inning. I’m sitting there with her in her swing and it’s almost bed time. I found myself looking at her when I thought she was going to lose it and I’m telling her ‘this guy might make history’. Suddenly a serenity came over her – she sat there like a perfect angel and stared at me and let me watch the ninth inning in peace. Even she knows Max Scherzer is awesome.

Harper Crisis Averted

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Many fantasy owners and baseball fans can breath a sigh of relief; for now.

I wouldn’t expect too much with Harper going against Francisco Liriano down at Nationals Park this afternoon. Still, it’s great to see he’s in the lineup. When we first saw the injury the other night, we were pretty sure he had blown his knee up.

The boy returned to the original scene of the crime, Tampa

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The first time we spotted Bryce Harper, the first time we even heard his name; he was hitting 500 foot shots with an aluminum bat at Tropicana Field. That was some six years ago, which is hard to believe.

Now, Bryce Harper is in the big leagues. Last night he hit his 22nd home run of the season off some poor dud named Niefenhauser in a 16-4 Nationals win.

A couple footnotes on this homer. It tied his career high of 22 in a season. It nearly landed in that pool out in right center at the ballpark in Tampa. And he gave Dick Vitale knuckles after rounding the bases.

He’s wearing us out with this homer stuff.

After a 3 for 3 game, his average is now up to .346 on the year.

Bryce Harper tags home run number 21 in Milwaukee off Mike Fiers

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[Brewers 8, Nationals 4]

The ball absolutely flies in Miller Park when the roof is shut.

Mike Fiers had his curveball working last night. I had this one on and he had close to ‘A’ stuff for the first time all year last night. But Fiers made the critical mistake to the best young hitter in baseball, and Bryce Harper gets into it to the point that his back leg comes completely off the ground. It flies out of Miller Park for his 21st home run of the season, and the 76th of his career.

Bryce Harper through 60 games has 51 walks (with 51 strikeouts), a .333/.469/.721 slash line for an OPS of 1.190. He is on pace for about 57 home runs.

Bryce Harper gets home run number 20 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx

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[Box Score]

Bryce Harper never had the chance to homer at historic Yankee Stadium. But today, in his first game in the Bronx, he added Masahiro Tanaka to his wall of Big Game pelts. He added Yankee Stadium to his list of parks homered in. His blast to center tied the game at 1-1, and was the only run the Nationals would score off Tanaka.

And my father in law called tonight, he’s a Yankees fan. He was with my wife and daughter about an hour from Yankee Stadium on the east coast. He said he was going to watch the game and take a good look at Harper – and he mentioned that Harper may someday be a Yankee. Although Harper was non-committal at any stance in this New York Post article, he has stated many time before that he hopes to be a National his entire career.

Bryce Harper checking out the monuments before today's game.
Bryce Harper checking out the monuments before today’s game.

You can’t blame the guy for loving Mickey Mantle and the history surrounding the Yankees though!

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Bryce Harper touches up Jason Hammel on a Saturday Afternoon in DC

It seemed like it had been a little while since Bryce Harper homered in a game – in actuality it had only been about seven games played. He’s still killing the ball, hitting over .330 playing every day. Today, Jason Hammel had his ‘A’ game and carried his start into the ninth inning at Nationals Park in DC.

The only other run in the game for the Nats to that point was a towering home run by Wilson ‘The Buffalo’ Ramos.

Harper led off the ninth inning and cut the lead in half, getting one out backside into the bullpen off Hammel and knocking him out of the game.

The Nationals lost the game 4-2. The Cubs have given them a run for their money this series. But Bryce Harper’s magical season rolled onward, with his 19th home run and an OPS that now sits at 1.192.

Welcome Back, Low Rider Rendon

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He is one of our very favorites. He is baseball’s Eddie Guerrero. When he appears on our television set, this song plays in our head:

Anthony Rendon was activated from the disabled list today – and for something that was such an impactful move for the Washington Nationals – it happened rather quietly. It’s slated to be his first regular season action of 2015.

In a way, this Rendon injury could end up being something that changed the face of the Nationals. Rendon was the team’s best player in 2014. While he missed time, this became Bryce Harper’s team. Rendon seems like a good Robin for Batman to have. If the Nationals can get some health back to their starting pitching staff, they’ll give anyone a run for their money in the National League. We’re just glad to have Low Rider back!

Our First Baseball Game of the Year: Reds complete weekend sweep of Nationals in Cincinnati

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[Box Score]

An overcast day – the final day on the calendar in May – was as good of a day as any to make our first trip of the year to the ballpark to see a game live.

The Reds didn’t disappoint their home crowd as they have on so many Sunday’s in the past. The Nationals bullpen melted down in the bottom of the 7th inning, allowing six runs that took a 2-2 ballgame to an 8-2 game which was the final score.

As for things we saw at the park today that we’ve never seen before, Joey Votto drew a three-ball walk. We saw it, and had the silent thought ‘hey that was only three’ but Votto dropped his bat and trotted down to first so quickly we thought we were just tired.

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One of the best places to eat at the park these days is Mr. Red’s Smokehouse. When I started making trips to Riverfront Stadium, they had nothing like this. Now the Reds welcome a piece of the menu from every opposing team in baseball. A really cool idea.

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We had the crablegs sandwich for lunch – dubbed the “U.S. Capital Crab”. It was very good but almost too salty with all the damn Old Bay seasoning on it.

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Who says Bryce Harper doesn’t like to sign autographs. He signed for every kid that was doing the Redlegs Run-on. I’m sure each Red liked seeing the Bryce Harper signature on the ball by the time the kid arrived at their spot.

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The Reds have started to do a cool new feature when they announce the staring lineup. Michael Lorenzen hit 8th today. That seems to be a trend all around the National league right now.

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The Reds we know at the core might not be much longer. Granted, there are a few reserve names penciled in there. But several of the guys on this list may not be wearing the uniform much longer. If indeed this was the last time we get to see a Jay Bruce or Brandon Phillips play in a Reds uniform, we wanted to make sure we had this here. You just never know.

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There’s Todd Frazier next to Billy Hatcher in the National anthem. The Toddfather had himself a day. Towering bomb to left to kick off scoring and two other hits.

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Michael Lorenzen had a really nice day. He was throwing the ball well and not missing his spots by much, spotting up the fastball at 92 to 94 MPH. He walked the bases loaded in the top of the seventh which led to the only two Washington runs and was subsequently pulled. But overall, this guy has a nice arm and fluid delivery.

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Draftkings’ advertising is taking over baseball. We cashed in our 50/50 this afternoon at least. My wife asked me if I thought any players played on Draftkings. I had never really thought about it – but they might.

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Harper getting his warm-ups in with Ian Desmond.

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Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa.

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Denard Span is a quality, unheralded player. Really glad I got to see Denard Span play. He ran down a couple deep flies in center field. He has great range and covers a lot of space that you can really appreciate when you’re at a game live.

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Here’s a guy whose name will become a lot more well-known as this blog entry ages: Wilmer Difo. He didn’t play today.

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Harper flew out to left, walked twice, and grounded out. He scored one of the two Washington runs. Pretty neat that in the finest month of his big league career we were able to see him in action.

Bryce Harper’s Thunderous Opposite Field Home Run off Jon Lester at Wrigley Field

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[Nationals 3, Cubs 0]

It was announced on Wednesday that Bryce Harper was the leading vote-getter in the National league for the first update of All-Star voting. On Wednesday night at Wrigley Field off Jon Lester, he hit his National League leading 18th home run of the season.

It was a shot to the opposite field that didn’t need wind, just like Harper said when the series started. It was his 18th home run of the 2015 season, this time he was the one tying Nelson Cruz (who earlier in the afternoon hit his 18th of the season as well) – how many times have these two guys homered on the same day this year?

We continue to marvel at the power Bryce Harper has to the opposite field. He’s now on pace for 62 home runs on the season.

Bryce Harper does not need the Wrigley Field Gail Force Wind; but it doesn’t hurt

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[Box Score]

Bryce Harper said before yesterday’s Memorial Day afternoon match-up that with power like his, he didn’t need the 20-plus MPH winds that were being forecasted at Wrigley Field.

Winds were flying out at about 17 MPH on Tuesday night, when Harper came to bat against Kyle Hendricks who held a 1-0 lead. Harper gets a ball in the air with some backspin, it looks like your garden-variety pop out; and Harper shucks his bat aside in disgust. Except, look at Coghlan the left-fielder. He just keeps drifting and the ball keeps going.

It lands in the bleachers for Harper’s 17th home run of the season and 12th in May. It is referred to as a ‘towering home run’ by the guys doing the play by play.

This tied the game at 1-1, and the Nationals would add one on a Denard Span home run to make it 2-1. And then Kris Bryant hit one out to tie the game. From there, Addison Russell would win it in the bottom of the ninth with a gapper. Nice little ballgame with a couple homers from the young stars.