Category Archives: Washington Nationals

Bryce Harper’s last blast of 2014 was an epic, clutch, historic clout into McCovey Cove

BzZQeY7CMAAzRN9

Game four of the NLDS, and Bryce Harper may have cemented his legend in baseball once and for all.

It was evident that Harper was still locked in from the early going, as he missed a home run to center in his first at bat by a narrow margin. In his second trip to the plate he doubled in the Nationals first run with a great at bat.

In his third at-bat, he took nasty Hunter Strickland into McCovey Cove to tie the game in epic fashion. It was a moment for the ages in postseason baseball.

Baseball can be beautiful, but sometimes it also has a way of showing us that the heroes die in the end. The Nationals would fall 3-2 to end their season.

BzZQBAfCIAAWnJp

An Ode to the 2014 Washington Nationals

Ian+Desmond+Washington+Nationals+v+San+Francisco+m2Tc48L-5JRl

Welp, that’s a wrap. For all intensive purposes, baseball season ended for us tonight a bit prematurely. In a matter of hours, two teams we love to watch completed the foursome of elimination in the League Division Series with the Cardinals getting past Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers and the Giants breaking the hearts of the Nationals out in the Bay Area.

I never dreamed when this postseason started that a World Series would exist without at least one of these two teams. It almost seems unfair – but it’s not. The Giants and Cardinals took the fight to these teams. They just went out and took it, with the help of a little more clutch hitting and better management.

I spent a TON of time watching Washington and Los Angeles this season. They were entertaining, yet flawed teams. Until the spring comes, I won’t see them again. If you want to see the remaining teams left in the playoffs, find and buy sports tickets to do so.

Bryce Harper nearly reaches McCovey Cove with second NLDS Moonshot

Bryce+Harper+Washington+Nationals+v+San+Francisco+OJUYmUtb3Nhl

After a hitless game in the 18-inning marathon on Saturday night, Bryce Harper woke up in San Francisco yesterday and decided he was coming to the park to send this to a game four.

Harper had an absolutely huge game, making two great defensive catches with the game on the line, drawing a walk that started the rally, and hitting of course his monstrous home run which was his third of his postseason.

To take a quote from Brandon Belt – that’s probably one of the hardest balls Harper has hit.

You have to love lowly Jean Machi pointing in the air for the ball to assist his outfielder as it heads toward McCovey Cove. Yeah, Jean. He’s got no chance for this.

So the Nationals live to fight at least one more day, 4-1. They survived Madison Bumgarner and one has to wonder if this series has swung and the Nationals have enough left in the tank to get it back to Washington. One thing is for sure – nothing gives the Nats a shot in the arm like a monster Harper bomb.

Bryce Harper hits the biggest, most titanic home run of his career

Bryce+Harper+San+Francisco+Giants+v+Washington+aqFlyc-fsJYl

[Box Score]

Bryce Harper possibly hit the premiere home run of the postseason this afternoon. And the Nationals lost a heartbreaker, giving those rotten Giants from the left coast their ninth straight playoff victory. But damn it, Bryce Harper put on his eye black and brought his game to the park today.

And the Nats seemed so lifeless for much of the day. I had the thought that if they could just get a Bryce Harper home run; it would be the one thing that could ignite the crowd and the rest of the Nationals enough to get them back into the game while trailing 3-0. It needed to be something big, and something epic.

And man, they don’t get any bigger or epic than this one. The only way it could have been more out of The Natural is if it was to win a game. It came off a guy in Hunter Strickland who is a relative newcomer to the Major League level, and his stuff is absolutely filthy. He’s never been touched up like this before:

Harper turned on a 97 MPH fastball, and nearly hit it out of the stadium.

The Nationals would add an Asdrubal Cabrera home run to cut the deficit to it’s final resting spot of 3 to 2, but the titanic home run wasn’t enough to dig them out of the hole that their slumber caused.

Bryce+Harper+San+Francisco+Giants+v+Washington+yI4F-nPedBzl

Still, anyone who tuned in today expecting to see Harper and Stephen Strasburg play the roles of the two leading Knights in the baseball Camelot that is the Nation’s capital got half of it (Harper also broke up Jake Peavy’s no-hitter the second time through the lineup).

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

Bryce+Harper+Washington+Nationals+v+New+York+h9Y9FIVKADcl

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.

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 10.15.59 PM

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

Bryce+Harper+Atlanta+Braves+v+Washington+Nationals+YwfCL0FGZrOl

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

Bryce+Harper+Washington+Nationals+v+Seattle+rKsa-UOdQryl

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

Bryce+Harper+Washington+Nationals+v+Seattle+CebCPpuYSnll

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).

HarperHR7

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

Anthony+Rendon+Arizona+Diamondbacks+v+Washington

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

Bryce+Harper

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

Bryce+Harper_hr6

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:

BvDjxZOIIAA8OxK

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.