Washington Nationals News: Bryce Harper comfortable at the plate

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Good afternoon DoD readers, and welcome to today’s District Daily! Before the Nationals kickoff an important series against the Cardinals tonight, checkout some great Washington Nationals articles from around the web below.

In today’s Daily, Tom Schad of the Washington Times discusses Bryce Harper. As Schad notes, Harper has been getting a lot of free passes this year, and the walks show that he is comfortable at the plate.

Although he hasn’t put up huge numbers yet, Harper has had an exceptional start to the season at the plate. He’s keeping himself calm and collected throughout his swing, and he’s not chasing at many pitches outside the zone. Not only is Harper working the zone and drawing walks, but he’s also getting intentionally walked by opposing pitchers, who realize that Harper is seeing beachballs at the plate.

The 2015 season could finally be the year Harper breaks out and becomes one of the game’s biggest stars. While there’s still a long way to go for that to be true, his patient and collected approach at the plate is a good place to start.

More from Nationals News

Also in today’s Daily, the Washington Post’s James Wagner discusses the Nationals bullpen, and the questions that remained unanswered within it. As Wagner notes, the bullpen has been shaky at times this season, and the team is still dealing with the loss of Tyler Clippard—who was traded over the winter—and the absence of Casey Janssen—who is on the disabled list.

The bullpen still has time to turn things around, and Janssen returning at some point soon should be a big help. But the bullpen is definitely a concern for the Nationals right now, and they’ll have to straighten it out soon before the ‘pen costs the team more wins.

Be sure to checkout the articles below, they’re definitely worth a read. And as always, stay tunes to DoD for all your Washington Nationals needs.

Walk party: Bryce Harper’s free passes indicative of comfort at the plate

(Tom Schad, Washington Times)

Over the course of his budding big league career, Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper has grown accustomed to hitting 400-foot home runs, pausing with bat in hand as the ball soars toward some distant part of the ballpark and ricochets off the concrete.

The intentional walks, however? Those are something new.

In the first 13 games of the season, the 22-year-old has already been intentionally walked a career-high five times and drawn six others. Though his 18 strikeouts this year are tied for fourth in the major leagues, his 11 walks are tied for second, and he has posted three multi-walk performances in Washington’s past four games. The walks are not as much an emphasis of Harper’s approach as a byproduct of it. Read full article here.

Nats’ bullpen questions remain unanswered two weeks into season

(James Wagner, Washington Post)

Before the Washington Nationals’ season began, concerns about the bullpen abounded, and the first two weeks of the season have done little to assuage those fears. Nationals relievers have a 2.27 ERA through 13 games, which ranked sixth in the major leagues entering Monday. But just four relievers from the opening day bullpen remain, and roles are still being ironed out.

Newcomer Casey Janssen is still in Viera, Fla., rehabilitating right shoulder tendinitis. The Nationals traded left-hander Jerry Blevins in the final week of spring training, and the left-hander they chose, Xavier Cedeno, struggled and was let go. Mainstay Craig Stammen underwent surgery Sunday to repair torn tendons in his forearm and is lost for the season.

“Even last year, we had a pretty consistent bullpen,” closer Drew Storen said. “Things can change quick, and things happen quickly. We’ve seen that in the first couple weeks.” Read full article here.

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