Washington Nationals Rapid Reaction: Long ball carries Nats to win

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Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Harper Doesn’t Hit Koehler In This Game

Bryce Harper did not have a good night at the plate against Tom Koehler, the starting pitcher for the Miami Marlins.

Harper has hit Koehler well in the past. He had a three home run game off Koehler on May 6 this year. He has four homers against Koehler this season.

Tonight Harper was 0-3 against Koehler. What brought that on?

For one thing, Koehler wasn’t throwing Harper any fastballs in the strike zone. Everything was outside or breaking pitches inside. Koehler left one pitch up in Harper’s turbo zone. Harper was on it, but fouled it back.

Koehler had obviously circled Harper as the batter that was not going to beat him with a home run tonight. Koehler would walk Bryce rather than give him anything to hit.

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It seemed that Harper allowed his past success against Koehler to get into his head. Harper was not very patient at the plate tonight. He struck out twice on breaking pitches that were low and inside. Harper was not taking what the game was giving him tonight against Koehler. He was trying to force the issue, trying to hit a home run and duplicate his past success against this pitcher. It led to two strike outs and a ground out.

In Harper’s last at bat, he was facing reliever Andre Rienzo. He drew a walk. After Koehler left the game, Bryce was able to take what the game gave him.

It has been rare to see Harper allow a pitcher or a situation to get into his head this season. His patience at the plate has been remarkable, and he has recognized that he is going to get walked. A lot. He’s been taking his walks and getting on base. Tonight that was not the case while Koehler was on the mound.

Next: Other Nationals Hit Home Runs