Washington Nationals Analysis: Success Of Nats’ Offense Gives Bryce Harper More Pitches To Hit

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All the talk around the Nation’s Capital has been about the historic season that Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper is having. Harper, who was 7-for-14 with a home run, three RBI’s, and seven runs scored in their four game series against the Marlins, is hitting .343 with 41 home runs, 95 RBI’s, and has an on-base percentage of .470 this season. While Harper’s numbers signify that he is the favorite for NL MVP, he did have some struggles driving in runs last month.

During the month of August, the 22-year-old hit .327, but only had two home runs because teams were going to be very careful pitching to Harper. Now, teams have had to make a tougher decision on walking Harper or not because of the success of some of the hitters around him in that lineup, such as Jayson Werth and Yunel Escobar. Due to those two players excelling, Harper is hitting .435 this month with ten home runs, 18 RBI’s, and has a .543 on-base percentage.

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First, let’s start with Escobar. The Nats’ third baseman has been hitting in the number two spot in the order for a good part of the last few weeks and he has hit .324 in 41 games when batting second. Escobar is hitting .423 with no home runs and 11 RBI’s this month to go with a .481 on-base percentage. It’s been a career season for Escobar as he now set a career-high for hits in a single season with 163 hits. With Escobar reaching base at a consistent rate, it means teams don’t often have a base open when facing Harper. However, they also have to think about the batter hitting behind him.

For the majority of the second half, that player was Ryan Zimmerman, but he has been out since September 7 because of a left oblique injury. With Zimmerman’s absence, Werth has occupied that spot and has flourished in it. Over his last 19 games, Werth is hitting .289 with six home runs and 15 RBI’s. The six home runs are the second most on the team, behind Harper. Plus, the Nats’ outfielder has a .592 slugging percentage this month, which is also behind Harper (1.000).

As the Nationals try to finish the season on a high note, their offense is once again on a roll. Due to scoring 13 runs today against the Marlins, Washington has scored the most runs (117) in baseball this month. While Harper has played a large part in that high run total, it’s been the player in front (Escobar) and the player behind him (Werth) in the lineup that have also played a role in the offense’s surge this month.

Next: Recap: Offense Explodes As Nats Beat Fish, 13-3

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