Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Harper Getting Pitches To Hit And Taking Advantage
After not swinging at a single pitch on Thursday night (four walks and a RBI), Bryce Harper has been finally getting pitches to hit and he is finding a way to make pitchers pay for that. Over the last two games, Harper is 5-for-9 with four runs scored, two doubles, two home runs, and three RBI’s.
Last night, Harper was able to cap off a four run third inning by making Shelby Miller work. Miller got ahead 1-2 in the count after striking Harper out in the first, but the Nats’ center fielder fouled off three straight pitches. After working the count to 3-2, Harper swung at the tenth pitch and hit a cutter over the wall in left-center for a two-run shot and his 33rd of the season. Plus, it was the 500th hit of his young career.
By hitting home runs in back-to-back games, Harper has now tied his August home run total that he had in 98 at-bats. The difference for him now is that Ryan Zimmerman has been red hot at the plate, which allows Harper to see more pitches and get more pitches to hit than usual. He saw 25 pitches last night, which was the most of any player in the Nats’ lineup.
Even with the Nationals not in first place at the moment, Harper still looks to be the clear choice for NL MVP. In addition to the 33 home runs, he is now at 100 home runs scored, and has an on-base percentage of .469. Right now, it seems Harper is putting up video-game type number in the eyes of his teammate and last night’s starter, Gio Gonzalez:
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