Technically speaking, it was a bit of a rough week for the Washington Nationals. Sunday night the team lost what was really a close game (the 9th inning bullpen meltdown notwithstanding) to the Phillies that was completely overshadowed by a pair of events that dominated the week’s headlines: Cole Hamels beaning Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth‘s broken wrist.
Under any normal set of circumstances there is no way we’d spend as much time as we did this week talking about a player getting hit by a pitch. To some within the Natosphere, the talk was necessary since the “dumb surfer” hit the “child prodigy” with a pitch. But in reality, it was just a part of the game of baseball.
Now, I won’t pretend to be ok with Hamels beaning Harper intentionally and without provocation. But I can’t deny that it doesn’t happen. In fact, I’m even more ok with it because of Harper’s reaction. He ran down to first without even looking towards the mound, hustled from first to third on the next batter’s single, and then promptly stole home. After the game some reporters asked him about the incident and all he could say was “Hamels is a great pitcher”.
The part of this situation that I have concerns with is what Hamels had to say after the game. Not only were his comments off base, they were uncalled for. And he deserved the suspension.
Werth’s injury, however, will likely prove to be the bigger story moving forward considering how much time the right fielder is going to miss. He’s been hitting much better in 2012 than he did in 2011, one part of what makes his loss so tough. But more importantly he’s become a leader within the clubhouse, particularly with all of the youth that has made its way onto the roster and into the lineup.
Considering how long Werth will be out for, it appears all but certain that Harper will not be returning to the minor leagues. The rookie will slide over to right field, where he’s expected to play everyday for the next 12 weeks. Coincidentally he’s been struggling at the plate for much of the past week, after getting off to such a hot start through his first 10 career games. Cutting his own head open (he swung a bat at the dugout wall in frustration, only to have the bat bounce back and hit him above the eye) and requiring 10 stitches won’t necessarily help that, but the phenom has shown great maturity and patience since arriving in Washington. Presumably Werth will still be with the team in the clubhouse as he recovers, hopefully he’ll be able to help the rookie manage the pressure and expectations that come with the job.
Final numbers on the week: 17 new posts
Game 28: Phillies 9, Nationals 3 (Aaron)
Jayson Werth Out 12 Weeks (Aaron)
Game 29: Pirates 5, Nationals 4 (Michael)
Adam LaRoche’s Milestone Homer (Marty)
Game 30: Pirates 4, Nationals 2 (Marty)
The Impact Of Losing Jayson Werth (Stephen)
Game 31: Nationals 4, Pirates 2 (Stephen)
Game 32: Nationals 7, Reds 3 (Aaron)
Game 33: Nationals 2, Reds 1 (Andrew)