Washington Nationals: Bryce Harper on the warpath

Despite a sub-par batting average, Bryce Harper is still a threat in the Washington Nationals lineup, and is on the warpath, hoping to bust out of his slump.

On Tuesday it was Washington Nationals right-fielder, Bryce Harper, who led the charge for the offense in a 3-2 win. He went deep in the first inning, and followed that up with a pair of singles to go 3 for 5 on the night.

Entering the day, he had the seventh lowest BABIP among qualifiers in baseball. With a couple of singles falling in for him, hopefully he’ll start to correct some of the bad luck he’s had through the last month.

The Harper breakout has seemed imminent for a while now, but hasn’t quite materialized. Whenever he’s had a big night like Tuesday, he would then strikeout four times such as Saturday against the Miami Marlins.

Right now, with the likes of Trea Turner and Anthony Rendon being key cogs in the lineup, the pressure is off Harper. But sooner or later, Bryce Harper will breakout, it’s just a matter of when as he continues to tease us with performances like Tuesday’s.

Soto is Juan impressive hitter

Nationals rookie Juan Soto continues to rake as he went 3 for 3, raising his average to .393 on the season. He even drew an intentional walk during the game, as Buck Showalter didn’t want to test the 19 year old again.

Soto was the youngest player to receive an intentional walk since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1989. Justin Upton also drew a walk at 19 years old, but was a matter of days older than the young Dominican at the time.

Soto’s legend in D.C. is growing with every passing game, and if he keeps up something close to the current pace, the Nats can’t send him down. The likely situation if things hold pattern is to ease Adam Eaton back in both left-field and center-field ready to take over full-time in center-field. This would allow Soto to be the primary left-fielder the rest of the way.

Nationals bullpen locks down win

After Jeremy Hellickson did his usual five innings of solid pitching, he turned it over to the bullpen with a narrow 3-2 lead. The relievers answered the call, throwing four innings of nearly flawless relief.

Justin Miller, Sammy Solis, Brandon Kintzler and Sean Doolittle combined to allow just four base-runners over the final four frames. It’s just another sign that the bullpen is not the issue it was early in the season.

After having a 4.80 bullpen ERA in March and April, they have cut it down to 3.24 in the month of May. The Nationals are also expecting Ryan Madson to be activated in time for the weekend series against the Braves. This will be a huge boost to a bullpen on the rise.

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The Washington Nationals will be looking for a three-game sweep over the Beltway rivals on Wednesday. Oh, and it’s only Max Scherzer starting, giving them a fantastic chance of doing so.