Game #157 Nationals start their final homestand of 2018

Photo by Marlene Koenig for TalkNats

The Nationals are set to open their final homestand of the 2018 season, and you better hurry it up and get to Nationals Park just in case this is Bryce Harper‘s final games in a Nationals uniform. The superstar outfielder could say goodbye on Wednesday to Nats Park and the fans, and no matter how you feel about Harper, he will leave an indelible mark on Washington, D.C. baseball. Of course, Harper could return to the Nationals for the foreseeable future if the two sides can come to terms.

There will always be mixed emotions with Harper because he is a polarizing player with a personality that rubs some the wrong way as well as a style of play that does not exactly depict him as the second coming of Pete Rose. Harp’s statistics, however, say he is in the top 25 best offensive players in baseball while on defense he ranks second to last in MLB in the DRS (defensive runs saved) stat. It has turned Harper into somewhat of an enigma on the field where his WAR rating encompasses much of the baseball intangibles in one stat of value which says he’s only the 40th most valuable position player in baseball. In fact he trails teammates Anthony Rendon and Trea Turner in value and is close to Juan Soto‘s value who has 200 fewer plate appearances.

There are players ranked ahead of Harper like Nicholas Castellanos, David Peralta, Joey Wendle, and Eddie Rosario. Those are players who are not household names. They are players who all play better defense than Harper, and it has been defense that has diminished Harper’s overall value.

“If I’m in those plans of being back with the Washington Nationals, I’d be thrilled,” Bryce Harper said in an exclusive interview with MASN. “If I’m not, I’m not sure what’s going to happen…if I’m part of those plans, I’ll be happy to be a Washington National.”

So here we are with the big unknown in Bryce Harper and this will be the #1 story in all of baseball in the off-season and of course for the Nationals. As we know, the Nats off-season begins next Sunday evening.

For today, we have a game to play and Stephen Strasburg will pitch for the Nationals against Sandy Alcantara who the Nats got to last week in Miami. For the Nationals to finish the season with a winning record, they must go at least 4-2 the rest of the way. The Nationals are at .500 at 78-78 which is baseball mediocrity and middle of the pack. If there is a silver lining, it will come in the form of a draft pick in the first round in the mid-teens. For years, the Nats have been picking in the late 20’s.

Miami Marlins vs. Washington Nationals
Stadium:  Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 7:05 pm EDT
TV:   MASN2; MLB App out-of-market
Nats Radio: 106.7 The Fan and via the MLB app

Line-ups subject to change without notice:

  1. Adam Eaton RF
  2. Trea Turner SS
  3. Bryce Harper CF
  4. Anthony Rendon 3B
  5. Juan Soto LF
  6. Ryan Zimmerman 1B
  7. Matt Wieters C
  8. Wilmer Difo 2B
  9. Stephen Strasburg RHP
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