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.
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).
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Jayson Werth didn’t get any knocks last night, here he is after reaching base on a walk.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Baseball Gods: help Jay Bruce turn this thing around.
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.
A Friday night in Philadelphia and Bryce Harper is mired in what seems like a one for forever slump. There are whispers that he’s not catching up to fastballs, even some wondering if he has the ever-dreaded ‘diminished skills’ at age 21 from all the injuries.
Nothing quiets these fears into a serenity momentarily like a nice bomb to right field to get some jeers from those brutal Philly fans.
Harper only had one hit tonight, but this was exactly the kind of confidence builder he needed to get something really big going. Something tells us that he’s going to be the driving force behind getting the Nationals past the Braves in the National League East division race. These teams are tied for the division lead as the night ends.
You figure A.J. Burnett will be hanging them up soon – but before he leaves the game forever the kid from Las Vegas touched him up for one. It’s good to see. It’s good for the game when this kid is hitting. We are really pulling for him.
It was the 44th home run of his career. It was his third at Citizens Bank Park. It was the 35th off a righty, and first time he’s gone deep hitting sixth in the Nationals lineup. It was his 28th solo shot.
ESPN is continuing to do what they can to make Bryce Harper a perceived superstar. He’s not holding up his end of the bargain, but hopefully that comes along in due time.
We like Harper, we like everything he stands for, we believe the talent is there. But we watch him night in and night out and it just isn’t happening. Something is off, and has been since he ran into that wall in Los Angeles last season.
I love one of baseball’s newest, best traditions: the 11:00 AM game on the 4th of July in Washington D.C.
When I was a kid, there was baseball on during the day on the 4th of July all day long. This year there’s a lack of it for sure; but this is the one game that kind of highlight’s the holiday. It’s baseball as it should be on Independence Day – in the nation’s capital before the day really gets started.
For giving us Bryce Harper and the star-studded Nationals just after breakfast, baseball deserves a pat on the back. We hope this is a long-standing tradition in the game.