Washington Nationals News: Bryce Harper wired for greatness

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Good afternoon DoD readers, and welcome to today’s District Daily! As you enjoy this afternoon’s game between the Nationals and the Braves, get caught up on all the latest Nats news with some great Washington Nationals articles from around the web below.

In today’s Daily, MLB.com’s Richard Justice discusses Bryce Harper and his tendency to bring his best stuff to the table when the Nationals need it most. As Justice notes, the Nationals have improved dramatically over the last 11 games, and Harper is a big reason why.

Ever since he was called up to the big leagues in 2012, Harper has been one of the most scrutinized players in all of baseball. More often than not, however, we’ve seen Harper come through at key moments and carry the ball club to success. We saw it in the NLDS last October, when he was one of the few Nationals players who not only didn’t choke, but played some of the best baseball we’ve ever seen from him. We’ve seen it over the last three games, in which Harper has hit six home runs—including a walk-off blast in yesterday’s tilt against the Braves.

If Harper can stay healthy, he’s headed for an MVP-type season and he may very well lead the Nationals deep into October for the first time in team history. As Justice notes in his article, the 22-year-old outfielder is simply wired for greatness.

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Also in today’s Daily, the Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes discusses Danny Espinosa. As Janes notes, Espinosa’s left-handed swing has improved dramatically this season, and it’s been a key part of his early offensive success.

Perhaps one of the most surprising and most welcome developments for the Nationals this season is the development of Espinosa’s left-handed swing. Considering that the team was ready to make Espinosa ditch switch-hitting during Spring Training, the fact that he not only continues to swing left-handed but is also hitting well from that side of the plate is great news for the Nationals.

Switch-hitters are a valuable commodity in baseball, and if Espinosa can continue to produce from both sides of the plate, he’ll continue to be a key part of the Nationals’ bench going forward.

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

Harper wired for greatness

(Richard Justice, MLB.com)

Bryce Harper stepped into the batter’s box with the game on the line Saturday afternoon. Funny thing about a moment like this: It separates players — the great ones from most of the rest.

Harper hasn’t always been great. In fact, he may still be working on whatever level of greatness he finally achieves. That said, these are the moments when he has always been most comfortable. Some guys are just wired differently.

When a slider from Braves reliever Cody Martin caught a little too much of the strike zone in the bottom of the ninth inning, Harper’s two-run home run turned a tie game into an 8-6 victory for the Washington Nationals. Read full article here.

Danny Espinosa’s improved left-handed swing

(Chelsea Janes, Washington Post)

Danny Espinosa hit the same number of home runs as Bryce Harper did Friday night: two. He hit them from the same batter’s box Harper did: the left-handed one. The similarities ended there.

Harper’s swings are nearly always mighty, engineered for annihilation, even in their new, controlled state. Espinosa’s lefty swings are more compact, sending barrel straight to ball — and because of that, he is hitting better from the left side than in recent years.

Espinosa’s right-handed swing is longer, and includes a pronounced step. He and manager Matt Williams agree Espinosa has more power from the right side, but because he is a switch-hitter, he gets fewer at-bats from the right side — part of the reason he’s hit 44 home runs left-handed and 15 from the right side. Read full article here.

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