Saturday was a special day for the Nationals, even if it were in futility. Bryce Harper connected with his 42nd and final home run of 2015, a game winning titanic blast to right field that won the Nationals the game 3-1. He ended the season on 99 RBI, 42 home runs, and a .330 batting average.
But for me, the moment of the day was a limping Bryce Harper (he took a Noah Syndergaard 96 mph fastball off the shin earlier in this game) getting off the mat to take an MVP hack and win his team one more ballgame.
It’s funny because a lot of individuals out there who weren’t following along closely are acting like Jonathan Papelbon choking Bryce Harper the other day was the end of the Nationals season. The Nationals were of course; already done at that point. The seeds that grew were planted so long ago. As Walter White says early on in Breaking Bad to show future foreshadowing that leads to his fateful collapse; “The reaction, has begun”.
You read through this article and you suddenly realize; most of the guys in this clubhouse had everything on their minds except winning ballgames. It’s really a great look into the eye of the tiger – and what you see is a bunch of guys worried about their numbers, their contract, their marketability, their image. All led by a manager who was probably the worst in baseball at doing the one thing a manager should do; build a little chemistry and environment and not screw it up too much. What a complete dumpster fire.
And I maintain what I said on twitter the night the Nationals made the move to trade for Jonathan Papelbon. It was the poison pill, the death blow. I told a friend that if I had a team of most hated players in the history of the game, Jonathan Papelbon could be the only guy who would close for that club. What a loser.
Bryce Harper took a thunderous cut, and if you watch the pitcher after this swing, he knew he had just made a fatal mistake that he would not live to tell about again on this day. It landed in the deck above the right field bullpen at Nationals park, Harper’s 41st home run of his incredible age-22 season.
He’s hitting .340 on the year with a 9.4 fWAR. His OPS is 1.138. If Harper never again replicates a season like this, it’s been one of legendary stature and he’s went out and showed out in 2015. He’s a home run behind Nelson Cruz and Chris Davis for the MLB lead.
Bryce Harper made history this evening in Philadelphia with his FOURTH home run of a three game series. It’s the first 40 home run season of his career at age 22. It’s pretty neat to have seen hime evolve as the kid on the cover of Sports Illustrated to overcome some of the frustrating struggles of his first two seasons, and now into the 40 home run monster and league MVP he has become.
The blast was a long titanic clout pop fly to right center.
So the next milestone would be a 10 fWAR season. Can he get there? We like his odds.
Bryce Harper is homering at a rate that we can barely keep up with the posts. On Tuesday evening in Philadelphia, he again homered twice in a Stephen Strasburgh 14-strikeout, one-hit performance. He drove in all four runs on the night.
The first home run was a pretty incredible display of power. A poor schlup named David Buchanan thew behind Harper, and then two pitches later decided to hang a curve ball. That landed in the center field seats over the 408 sign.
The second home run was equally impressive; it was a long high fly ball that just kept carrying to the opposite field off a lefty.
Home Run #38
Home Run #39
It sure is nice of the Phillies to keep challenging Harper and serving these up nightly.
Alright, so we’re a little late on this one. The Nationals ironically received huge performances from both Stephen Strasburg, and got a Bryce Harper home run to kick off scoring, and to close their scoring; and they were still swept by the team from Queens.
Home Run #35
Home Run #36
So, first time we’ve had a delay in getting one of these Harper home run posts up. Pardon us, it was a busy several days and the Nats basically being unofficially eliminated from the playoffs was depressing.
The Nationals didn’t need this home run to win yesterday or anything, but number 34 for Bryce Harper came off Manny Banuelos, and it was impressive because it was a finesse swing off a slider. The Nationals swept the Braves out of town with an 8-4 win, and moved within four games of the Mets in the NL East.
As for the home runs, Harper has three in his past three games, with each one seemingly more impressive than the one before. On Friday, he clubbed a 453-foot shot to dead center off Julio Teheran that was the longest of his career. On Saturday, he got behind 0-2 on righty Shelby Miller, then proceeded to foul off four pitches before going deep to left-center. The at-bat lasted 10 pitches and resulted in Harper’s 500th career hit. Then on Sunday, leading off the third inning, he hit another opposite-field shot, this one coming on an 0-2 slider from southpaw Manny Banuelos. Said Washington manager Matt Williams: “His stroke is under control.”
Bryce Harper is heating up at the right time, and he’s got an outside shot at 40 home runs if he stays this hot. It’s going to be more fun to watch the pennant race in this division though starting with today’s game.
Bryce Harper got the Nationals off and running last night when in the third inning, he catches some type of 89 MPH slider from Shelby Miller down in the zone. It lands in the seats in left center field to give the Nationals a 3-0 lead, his 33rd home run of the season.
Harper is now hitting .337 on the season with 100 runs scored even.
He’s hurting the Braves in this series no matter how they try to deal with him. He became the first player in about a century on Thursday night to have four walks, four runs scored, and a run batted in when the Nationals won 15-1.
Julio Teheran and Bryce Harper have quite a history. They don’t like each other, to put it bluntly. Last night in Washington was possibly the Nationals’ game of the year, and we saw the whole thing.
Harper kicked off scoring by unloading on a full count pitch, and it was another monster shot that landed in the upper deck in Washington for his 32nd home run of the season.
The Nationals would rally down 2-1 to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, and in the tenth frame they got a three run walk-off home run from Michael Taylor to win the game. In a great turn of events, the Mets lost a Jacob DeGrom start in extra innings in Miami to the lowly Marlins. The division race stands at five games.
The Nationals are in so much trouble right now – and lost again last night. They began a long homestand that will likely serve as their final stand. Bryce Harper kicked things off the only way he knows how, by turning around a 97 MPH Jimmy Nelson fastball (Jimmy Nelson was throwing pretty hard last night folks) and depositing the line drive in the seats for his 31st home run.
This was the 86th home run of Bryce Harper’s career, and he now leads the National league by one over Nolan Arenado. The Nationals are what has to be a season-high five games back of the New York Mets.
Late on a Friday night in San Francisco, when the Nationals saw their season basically salt away due to their ace getting rocked by those pesky, annoying Giants; Bryce Harper reached the 30 home run plateau for the first time when Matt Cain tried to sneak a high fastball past him.
It seems like it has been a good while since we’ve done one of these posts. Hopefully there are about 10 or 15 more of them before the season concludes. Harper is going to need to get hot.
Harper had this to say about hitting his 30th:
“I’m playing for 40,” Harper said. “When you’re worried about 30, you’re not worrying about 40. I want to hit 40 or 50. I just want to keep going and keep battling. Hopefully if I’m doing that, we’re winning ballgames and at the end of the day that’s all that matters. Personal stats are fun and whatever, but it’s all about winning ball games and what you can do for your team.”
We would really like to see him get to at least 40. The Nationals it appears are going to fall well short of their lofty expectations once again. Harper will need a strong finish to win the MVP award.
It was that May 6th day before summer really got hot that Bryce Harper’s career took off. A three home run game off Tom Koehler, all three of them more majestic than the one before it. Harper entered tonight’s game in Miami with four career bombs off Koehler, and tonight he would get his fifth off the stubborn right-hander.
It would give him sole possession of the National League lead with 28. He would later add another even more Ruthian clout to give him 29. He’s trailing just Albert Pujols and Mike Trout in all of baseball for the home run crown.
Home Run #28 (and his fifth career off Tommy Koehler):
Bryce Harper homered off of a bad man on Saturday afternoon at Nationals Park. It looks like he caught a 93-MPH two-seam fastball tailing over too much of the outer half of the plate, and he deposited it violently off a seat in the right field upper deck.
It was his 27th home run of the season. He’s been homering at a regular pace, but it’s been a bit since he’s hit a moonshot like this.
Clayton Kershaw took the mound for this 4-2 Dodgers win, and it was just one of those incredible days for the Koufax of our era. He had 14 strikeouts in eight shutout innings, getting Harper to go down on strikes three times. By the time the Dodgers brought Kenley Jansen in to mop up the ninth, a ferocious right-handed closer like him probably seemed pretty human to a mutant like Harper.