Washington Nationals: 5 To watch in visit to Pittsburgh

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May 10, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli (29) is greeted by third baseman Josh Harrison (5) after hitting a two run home run in the ninth inning against Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Kenta Maeda (not pictured) at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
May 10, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli (29) is greeted by third baseman Josh Harrison (5) after hitting a two run home run in the ninth inning against Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Kenta Maeda (not pictured) at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Nationals
Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Josh Harrison

Harrison was one of Daniel Murphy and Tanner Roark’s teammates on Team USA when they won the World Baseball Classic back in March. In the early stages of the season, he has carried the Pirates in several offensive categories.

The 29-year-old third baseman/second baseman leads the team in batting average (.288), hits (38), and on-base percentage (.354). His 14 hits in May are the most on the team with three of those hits being home runs.

When you watch the Pirates play this season, their offense has struggled at home. They have a team batting average of .244 with 52 total hits (second lowest in the NL). But, Harrison has been one of the main hitters at home with a .364 batting average.

Yes, Harrison is not going to be the one who hits the ball out of the ballpark on the team when you consider he has more home runs this season (five) than each of the last two seasons. But, he’s going to get on base and set up the rest of the lineup.

Now that David Freese is back at third base, Harrison gets to go back to playing second base, but he has always been valuable to the Pirates because of his defensive versatility.

Last season, the Washington Nationals pitchers kept Harrison in check as he went 2-for-12 with a double and three strikeouts. He did not play in the September series since all 12 at-bats came in the July series at Nats Park.

So, while Bell and McCutchen are the key power sources in the Pirates lineup, those home runs can be more than solo shots if Harrison can be a pest to the Nats pitching staff this week.

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