Washington Nationals News: Nats named MLB.com’s Bullpen of the Week

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Apr 13, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon (58) is congratulated by catcher Wilson Ramos (40) after erring a save against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 13, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon (58) is congratulated by catcher Wilson Ramos (40) after erring a save against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /
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Today’s District Daily features stories on the Washington Nationals’ bullpen and Bryce Harper‘s relationship with manager Dusty Baker.

Good evening DoD readers, and welcome to today’s District Daily. Get caught up on the latest Nats news and opinions with some great Washington Nationals articles from around the web below.

In today’s Daily, MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg discusses how the Washington Nationals’ bullpen was named MLB.com’s Bullpen of the Week. As Thornburg writes, the Nationals’ bullpen dominated all week, culminating in an impressive feat of endurance during yesterday’s 16-inning victory over the Twins.

MLB.com bases their rankings on the following point system (via Thornburg’s article):

• Add 1.5 points for each out recorded
• Add 1.5 points for each strikeout
• Add 5 points for a save
• Subtract 2 points for each hit allowed
• Subtract 4 points for each earned run allowed
• Subtract 2 points for each unearned run allowed
• Subtract 1 point for each walk
• Subtract 5 points for a blown save

Last week, Nationals relievers accumulated 112 points, which, according to Thornburg, is the highest score any bullpen has recorded in a week this season.

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While it helped that the bullpen saw 8 2/3 innings of work during yesterday’s marathon, the fact that the bullpen has been solid so far this season is an excellent sign for the Nationals. Constant implosions from the ‘pen hurt the Nationals badly in 2015 and the team rebuilt the bullpen over the offseason.

It remains to be seen if the changes general manager Mike Rizzo made to the ‘pen will help the team return to the postseason in 2016. One thing’s for sure, they’re off to a great start.

Also in today’s Daily, the Washington Post discusses the relationship between Bryce Harper and manager Dusty Baker, and the mutual admiration that the two have for each other.

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

Bullpen of the Week: Reliable Nats show depth

(Chad Thornburg, MLB.com)

The Nationals finished the week on a high note, defeating the Twins, 6-5, in a 16-inning marathon that was the longest game in both innings and length of time (5:56) of the season. In doing so, Washington leaned heavily on its bullpen, calling upon relievers to pitch 8 2/3 innings.

Sunday’s walk-off win capped an impressive week by the Nats’ bullpen, which played a crucial role in Washington winning five of seven games.

As part of the MLB Prevailing Moments program, each Monday throughout the 2016 season, MLB.com is honoring the “Bullpen of the Week presented by The Hartford.” An industry-wide panel of MLB experts, including legendary stats guru Bill James, constructed a metric based on James’ widely renowned game-score formula, to provide a weekly measurement of team-bullpen performance. Read full article here.

Bryce Harper, Dusty Baker express mutual admiration

(James Wagner, Washington Post)

Hard as it is to imagine, Bryce Harper is producing at higher rates three weeks into this season than he did at this point in his historic MVP season a year ago. Through 18 games (17 starts) this season, Harper is hitting .323 with a .405 on-base percentage, .855 slugging percentage and a 1.260 OPS (on-base-plus-slugging percentage). The most impressive part: He has nine home runs and 10 walks but just nine strikeouts.

A look back at Harper’s first 18 games over his previous four seasons shows that he has surpassed his early performances in 2012 (.227/.316/.439 with two home runs ), 2013 (.353/.421/.706 with seven home runs), 2014 (.279/.347/.397 with one home run) and 2015 (.271/.429/.492 with four home runs). Read full article here.

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