When you have games where you are only putting 3 to 4 true starters in the line-up, you need those starters to step-up. Bryce Harper has been in a long funk, and it has been blasphemous to call him out. His last extra-base-hit (XBH) was on April 16th. Harper only has one double all season. Speaking of April 16th, going into that game Harper had more home runs than singles. Luckily for the Washington Nationals, managers still feel the need to walk him which has been the saving grace for his on-base-percentage because Harper is only batting .250. Worse than that, is Harper’s .160s batting average in RISP spots.
At some point, Harper needs to step up for this team. Maybe it’s Harper who needs to move up in the order as he is in a big slump. His batting average on April 16th was .315 and has dropped 65 points, but most disturbing is the RISP issues like we saw on Friday when Harper struck-out with bases loaded. Some would say it is tough on Bryce to hit with no protection. Well, he had protection yesterday and went 1-for-4 with 2 strikeouts.
Sure, it’s a team game, but in all fairness, Bryce seems to get a pass from the media. While his .OBP at .455 is amazing — he has a 205 point spread to his batting average. His BABIP is .213 so maybe he is just another player getting bit by bad luck. Whatever it is — Bryce Harper has to step-up for his team.
“If you are not hitting, what else are you doing to help your team win” — Joe Maddon
The Nats are in salvage mode today after dropping painful back-to-back 1-run losses to these Arizona Diamondbacks who are now tied with the Red Sox for the best record in baseball.
The Nationals have to find a way to win today. It won’t be easy. Dueling lefties between Gio Gonzalez and ex-Nats farmhand Robbie Ray is your pitching match-ups. Add to the issues, Nationals manager Dave Martinez used every bullpen arm yesterday. That begs the question, will the Nats get a fresh arm to D.C. today? Austin Voth could be a fit to give the bullpen a long-arm. Voth last pitched on April 23rd and is on the 40-man roster.
By the way, game-time temperatures at Nationals Park will be chilly with a high at 56°F. If you’re heading to the park, bring a red Nats sweatshirt.
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 1:35 pm EDT
TV: MASN; MLB App out-of-market; MLB Network (out-of-market)
Nats Radio: 106.7 The Fan and via the MLB app
Line-ups subject to change without notice:
- Trea Turner SS
- Ryan Zimmerman 1B
- Bryce Harper RF
- Howie Kendrick 2B
- Michael Taylor CF
- Matt Wieters C
- Moises Sierra LF
- Wilmer Difo 3B
- Gio Gonzalez LHP