Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hamels handles Harper, Nats

Associated Press photo
Cole Hamels tossed eight scoreless innings to improve to 7-1 this season.
PHILADELPHIA -- Lost amid the intentional plunking, the acknowledgement of the intentional plunking and the backlash that followed the intentional plunking was one minor fact.

Cole Hamels is good. Really good.

"He's one the best pitchers in baseball," Bryce Harper said. "He's 7-1 for a reason."

Hamels is indeed 7-1 now thanks to another dominant performance against the Nationals Wednesday night, resulting in a 4-1 victory for the Phillies.

While everyone else wanted to see what would happen when Hamels and Harper squared off for the first time since their emotionally charged encounter on national television 2 1/2 weeks ago, the Philadelphia left-hander just went out and did what he does best.

Hamels carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, escaped a potential jam in that frame, then departed after eight scoreless, lowering his ERA to 2.17 in the process.

"It wasn't in my head at all," Hamels said of his tiff with Harper. "I had nine guys that I had to face, so it wasn't on my mind."

As was the case earlier this month in the District, the Nationals went up against Hamels with an opportunity to sweep the Phillies and make a definitive statement against the franchise they've sought to overtake in the NL East the last five years. And as was the case in that previous encounter, they were shut down by the lefty, unable to get comfortable at the plate against his assortment of pitches.

"When he's throwing 93-95 and has got that cutter working, his change-up can be devastating," said Danny Espinosa, who broke up the no-hitter attempt with a sixth-inning double. "He was throwing hard tonight, and his change-up was around 82. So when you have that much of a difference between your fastball and your changeup, that's kind of tough."

Perhaps the only member of the Nationals lineup who didn't look fazed against Hamels was Harper, who went 1-for-3 with a single and a walk and struck a flyball to deep left field in the top of the first that didn't quite carry enough. Said Harper: "I think I should've hit that ball out."

The 19-year-old's single to right in the sixth, on the heels of Espinosa's double, looked like it might get the Nationals on the board at last. But third base coach Bo Porter waved Espinosa around, and Hunter Pence fired a bullet to the plate to get him on a bang-bang play.

Espinosa got up limping a bit, and he had his lower right leg wrapped in ice after the game, though he insisted he was fine.

Porter's decision to send Espinosa was perhaps a questionable one, and it looked worse when Ryan Zimmerman followed with what would have been an RBI single. Manager Davey Johnson, though, seemed more upset that Harper didn't advance to second on the throw home, a move that might have allowed him to score on the subsequent Zimmerman single.

"I think Harper should have been on second base," Johnson said. "High throw. We would've been in better position."

The Nationals had one more opportunity to get to Hamels when Jesus Flores tripled to open the eighth, though they stranded him on third base, with Harper grounding out to end the inning and send Hamels to the dugout to a standing ovation from the crowd of 43,926.

At that point, the Nationals trailed 4-0, starter Edwin Jackson having surrendered three runs and closer-turned-mopup man Henry Rodriguez having served up a homer to Shane Victorino.

They did get one run back in the ninth when Adam LaRoche homered off Jonathan Papelbon, but it was far too little and far too late to alter the outcome of this game.

Thus, the Nationals missed yet another opportunity to sweep a series. Despite putting themselves in position to do it nine times already this season, they've yet to finish the job.

"We wish we could've got that sweep, definitely," Harper said. "But to get two out of three against them, I think, was huge."

At the end of the night, the Nationals can still boast about taking four of six games from the Phillies so far this season, not to mention their standing atop the NL East and Philadelphia's current standing at the bottom of the division.

"I think it's close. I think we've got them, though," said Phillies manager Charlie Manual, not particularly known as a math whiz.

For all the attention thrust upon this burgeoning rivalry with Philadelphia, the Nationals know they face an even bigger test this weekend in Atlanta against a Braves club that could be tied with them for first place come gametime Friday.

"The NL East is really good," Harper said. "Great pitching, great hitting. Everybody tries to battle every day. The Phillies are who we're probably going to go after the next couple years. They're good. And we're good. It's all good. Whatever."

72 comments:

SonnyG10 said...

Whatever, indeed.

hiramhover said...

"He's 7-1 for a reason."

Seriously - he's citing the pitcher's W-L record?

So much for the Kid having a great mind for the game....

John said...

Welcome to The World According To Harp.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

"It wasn't in my head at all," Hamels said of his tiff with Harper.

Liar.

Cwj said...

Hiramhover- Yeah, W-L record is not the best measure of a pitcher's talent.
But very few hitters will ever mention the FIP of opposing pitchers :-)
Also, Hamels is very good regardless of his gaudy run support.

On the Nats side, Stras, Gio, Jordan, Jackson and even Detwiler should have much better W-L records given how well they've pitched so far.

The Braves, and to a much lesser extent the Marlins, are the only teams that can challenge the Nats in the NL East.
Go Nats!

rabbit34 said...

Well, I for one think the Phillies are more of a threat than anyone else in the division. In spite of the standings, the division is close. Keep remembering, the Phillies don't have their best team out there. I still have very little confidence in our hitters. Harper is the exception. He makes contact, and good contact. I know about Laroche...Desmond...blah blah blah. I stand by what I said.

NatsLady said...

His FIP ain't too bad (2.61) but Gio's is better (1.94). So there.

fangraphs pitching leaders

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&qual=y&type=8&season=2012&month=0&season1=2012&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&players=0&sort=16,a

NatsLady said...

Via @SeanMMcnally,
Nationals’ pitchers: 207/226/293. Nationals LFs 157/246/252.


Ouch.

320R2S15 said...

Man I wish Harper would just shut up and play. I don't care what he has to say, maybe in 5 years if he performs as expected, but it's like having my son advise me of what going on. the press (Mark) needs to stop bothering him and look to guys like ALR and other vets fot quotes.

mick said...

cwj.... we are missing werth, morse, ramos and storen.

NatsLady said...

Brian Bixler is a player I remember for always running out ground balls. He didn't take that 1/2 second to look, he just zipped out of the box.

MicheleS said...

If you haven't all realized, Harp must have attended the Crash Davis cliche school. After all the kerfuffle's he created in the past, I am sure someone on Team Boras took him to school in PR (The guy they hired away from the Nats). Just to keep him out of any more kerfuffles. And these are the exact BS cliche's I want to here out of him.

Unknown said...

Folks -- All Harper's comments pass the "Crash Davis" test. Citing a pitcher's W-L record is normal stuff. Folks criticizing him are bending over backwards to find something wrong. As a Nats' fan,I'm thrilled he's on my favorite team. His stats so far are nearly identical to Mantle's and Griffey's at the same point in their careers. It's too early, far too early, to put him in that company, but this fact gives me hope and allows me to dream -- a fan's perogative and much more fun than trying to find something negative to complain about.

hiramhover said...

Shorter 320R2S15: "Damn Kid, get your quotes off my sports page!"

hiramhover said...

Folks criticizing him are bending over backwards to find something wrong

Or--at least as far as the W-L comments go--they're making jokes that failed to find your funny bone.

Steady Eddie said...

If Harp wasn't giving these bland quotes, the story would be "petulant young superstar refuses to talk to media, proves his immaturity."

And we can also be sure 320 would be all over that, too.

Steady Eddie said...

Mick -- While I'd love to have Ramos back now too, it's not clear he makes a hole as big as any of the other three. JFlo's defense has been solid, better than Wilson's was this year, and his triple was the biggest hit anyone got off Colbert last night.

Unknown said...

Point taken hiram -- humor is always appreciated - swing and a miss for me!

MicheleS said...

Mick.. I want Morse/Werth back too.. for the leadership and the HITS.. Geesh, I miss the Gorse Hacking Mr Morse would give us, but thankfully we have about 2 weeks max until he comes back. Storen is missed because of the obvious ulcers we all have, but I think Clipp/Sean/Stammen can handle until he gets back. Lidge is coming, and that hernia had to be a problem that caused him to be ineffective. Who knew we would be thrilled when Stammen came into the game!!!

baseballswami said...

I have been engaging in as much hand-wringing and teeth -gnashing as any of you about the lack of hitting, dl, closer, etc. I happened to glance at the mlb standings this morning - only four,count them,four,teams have more wins than the nats and they are really big-name teams except for the Orioles. Somehow (well, pitching) this rabbit-out- of -a -hat has happened to this point and we are 44 games in - that's past the quarter pole, folks. Watching the games day in and day out it just doesn't seem like we dominate very often , but it gets done enough of the time. Next six games are critical. I hope the starting pitchers have gotten their little glitches worked out. They certainly have their hitting down. Now - about left field?

Section 222 said...

Good point about Bixler NL, and he was really fast too. It's great to see a guy who doesn't have to scratch out infield hits hustling like that. I'll repeat what I said last night about Flores' triple. He really turned on the jets coming around second. If he'd been running like that from the start, he could have cruised into third standing up. Not to pick on him, though, almost all players admire their work too much, or don't run hard if it looks like they are going to be out anyway.

Of course, Harper didn't take second on the throw to the plate that got Espi. He's not perfect. But boy is he fun to watch.

natsfan1a said...

I was just looking at the standings myself, swami, but you beat me to it with your post. :-) The other teams ahead of the .591 Nats are LAD, at .682 and TEX/TAM, both at .600. ATL is .5 back as our guys get ready to play them.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

mick May 24, 2012 7:11 AM

cwj.... we are missing werth, morse, ramos and storen


Thanks for reminding everyone plus you can add Lidge to that list also and the fact that RZim hasn't played much or contributed much.

m20832 said...

I know Harper is just "The Kid", but why does Johnson have to nitpick him every game? I would have been on Porter for sending Espi.

MicheleS said...

222.. the ball almost went foul so that could be the reason he wasn't running it out of the box. Granted, he should have been at full speed, but I forgive him.. We need a catcher that stays healthy (the bad slide not withstanding)

MicheleS said...

M203832..i am guessing those are pointed remarks to make sure that Bryce learns and that he is not being given a free pass because he is the Phenom.

NatsLady said...

Someone else fined $500K by MLB... So maybe that's the standard.

MLB fine

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/2011/03/henry_reveals_5.html

The Cubs were fined $500K in 2008 for draft violations.

NatsLady said...

Other fines are all over the lot, from $750 to $50K. Guess Selig was really ticked at Hamels.

320R2S15 said...

Hey, i did not mean to come off as overly critical of Harper, I love the kid. He is the real deal as well as a National so I'm rooting for him all the way, I just wish he would stop talking so much. I understand that the media is doing their job by sticking a mic in his face every day, but I think he aught to sit back and listen a little more. All he needs to do is look at other players in his position ( I realize there are not many of them) like Stras. Harper could learn alot about how best to handle himself by watching and listening to Steven. But hey, like I said, I love what Harper has done so far and I am glad we have him. Sorry if I came off as a non supporter.

320R2S15 said...

Hey, i did not mean to come off as overly critical of Harper, I love the kid. He is the real deal as well as a National so I'm rooting for him all the way, I just wish he would stop talking so much. I understand that the media is doing their job by sticking a mic in his face every day, but I think he aught to sit back and listen a little more. All he needs to do is look at other players in his position ( I realize there are not many of them) like Stras. Harper could learn alot about how best to handle himself by watching and listening to Steven. But hey, like I said, I love what Harper has done so far and I am glad we have him. Sorry if I came off as a non supporter.

MicheleS said...

320R.. have you noticed that Stephen is actually talking to the press this year? Same PR guy got a hold of him too. And sadly, it's the nature of being the Phenom that you will constantly having the press ask you questions, at least they are both sticking with the cliche's and not saying "It was like out there you know"

ehay2k said...

If the press sticks a mic in Harper's face, you want him to sit back and listen? He can't help it if he is the focus of media attention. But he can't refuse to talk to them or he will be deemed a jerk. No, he has to keep tossing out the cliches, and make every comment boring so they leave him alone. It's a learning process - for the press, not Harper.

SCNatsFan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SCNatsFan said...

It makes me laugh that people question Harper for thinking 7-1 makes Hamels good after he just shut us down. Maybe he should start quoting sabermetrics to appease the really smart fans because kids love to talk about WHIP when discussing baseball.

Steady Eddie said...

What ehay2k said, which is what I said @ 7:44.

The point is that Harper is the coin of the realm to media folks. The fact that his performance -- especially including his masterful-way-beyond-his-years mindset on the field -- goes way beyond the hype about him (which was only about talent) makes him a literally irresistible story, every time he does something that shows that mindset combining with that talent to do something amazing.

(As I said to a guy sitting next to me at Nats Park recently, after watching Harp take one of his huge, aggressive turns at first after a "routine" (because very little is ever routine about Harp) single, "it's worth the price of admission just to see him do that, in some way on almost every play".)

So given that he WILL be a story, he can say (a) nothing and be called a jerk, (b) something unconventional and have it misinterpreted and become 50 stories saying that he's a jerk, or (c) something conventional and have followup stories be about what he does on the field.

This is the culture we live in. Harp is well advised and learns VERY quickly.

NatsLady said...

For those wondering about the Ballmer-Nats rivalry under the new format--sadly, not so much. It looks like every third year we would get the six game set.

Interleague play will be based on a rotating division format, but may include no more than one series against a prime inter-league rival unless they play two two-game series.In the years when the corresponding divisions are scheduled for Interleague play, two series of three or fewer games against the prime inter-league rival may be played.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

m20832 May 24, 2012 8:47 AM

I know Harper is just "The Kid", but why does Johnson have to nitpick him every game? I would have been on Porter for sending Espi


Davey doesn't publicly want to show up his Coach. Harper was watching the play at the plate instead of taking 2nd.

The big play was Espi thrown out with the heart of the order coming up.

A DC Wonk said...

Folks -- All Harper's comments pass the "Crash Davis" test. Citing a pitcher's W-L record is normal stuff. Folks criticizing him are bending over backwards to find something wrong.

Ditto.

And, further, pay attention to what Harper actually said. He, unlike those that were critical of him seemed to assume, did not offer 7-1 as proof that Hamels was good. He said, "he's 7-1 for a reason." That happens to be 100% true. And the reason is that Hamels is really really good.

To repeat:

It makes me laugh that people question Harper for thinking 7-1 makes Hamels good

Exactly. Harper didn't say that 7-1 made Hamels good. He implied that Hamels is really good, and that's how he ended up with a 7-1 record. Which is true, right? The fact is that Hamels has pitched eight times, and has seven really good starts.

I know Harper is just "The Kid", but why does Johnson have to nitpick him every game?

Does he nitpick him after "every" game? I haven't seen that.

Further, it's a legitimate criticism. Harper's been very good about taking extra bases, but didn't this time. And, it _did_ cost them a run, right?

As for Espi getting sent home -- you can't blame Porter if it ends up taking a perfect throw to get him on a bang-bang play.

ehay2k said...

Steady Eddie, I know you already said basically the same thing, but 320R's post came after yours, so I thought it was worth repeating the concept.

Section 222 said...

the ball almost went foul so that could be the reason he wasn't running it out of the box. Granted, he should have been at full speed, but I forgive him.

I forgive him too. Of course I do, he's all we've got in the squat at this point. But just to be clear, watching to see if the ball is fair or foul is exactly the kind of thing that we see all too often. It might be the reason he was slow out of the gate, but it's not a justification. And Harper doesn't do it. I mean, after all, it might be fair, right?

A DC Wonk said...

In appreciation of Ian:

Ian leads the Nats (or is tied for the lead) in hits, doubles, home runs, runs, and stolen bases. Second in RBI's and SLG.

Any other SS's in the NL like that this year thus far?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Tomorrow night with Detwiler vs. Atlanta proves to be the biggest game of the season. All of the Nats starters get an extra days rest which should do them well. The Braves lefty stacked lineup will make this an interesting matchup. (Heyward, Freeman, Bourn, McCann)

McCatty had interesting words in a pre-game MASN interview on Stras and Gio's high pitch counts. If anyone sees a link of that, please post it up.

hiramhover said...

It makes me laugh that people question Harper for thinking 7-1 makes Hamels good

Since the question was intended as a joke, that's good to hear--mission accomplished!

320R

I was just busting your chops before. I do agree with some of the other commenters. The media storm is going to continue for a while, but it will die down. And the thing that amazes me is how well he's handling it--he's saying all the right things, doesn't come off as arrogant or know it all.

Esp. given some of the pre-season kerfuffles (remember when--OMIGOD--he tweeted a sentiment other than a death wish about the Cowboys?), he's shown remarkable poise on and off the field, for a rookie of pretty much any age.

Section 222 said...

Re: McCatty's comments -- Listening to him, it's pretty clear that for him "pitch to contact" simply means throwing strikes. It's not really about strikeouts vs. groundouts, it's about strikeouts or groundouts vs. walks. Walks are what drive up pitch counts, not strikeouts. I don't think you can tell our starters not to try to strike people out. But you can tell them to throw strikes. If they do, their pitchcounts will stay down. And if they have to take a little off the fastball to locate it, so be it. Good location will strike people out just as well as firepower.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

A DC Wonk said...
In appreciation of Ian:

Ian leads the Nats (or is tied for the lead) in hits, doubles, home runs, runs, and stolen bases. Second in RBI's and SLG.

Any other SS's in the NL like that this year thus far?

May 24, 2012 10:10 AM


To think of some of the trades people had Desi proposed in. I think one of them was Desi for a case of sunflower seeds.

LaRoche and Desi as a duo have carried this team and BHarper has really been a force in his 1st month of action.

This team desparately needs Ryan Zimmerman to step up now.

Friday is Detwiler/Hudson
Saturday is Strasburg/Minor
Sunday is Gio/Beachy

Kirbs said...

Who cares about hamles, we just took 2/3. Now here's fingers crosses to the same in Atlanta.

Kirbs said...

And btw, is this Detwilers last shot to get it right with CMW back? I believe he's given up 6 in his last 2?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Sec 222, good summation. I get the feeling McCatty is not a fan of the nibbling that leads to walks.

When your pitchers have good stuff they need to attack the batters.

Sue Dominus said...

Re: More of McCatty's comments. When asked about Henry on the broadcast last night, McCatty said he expects him to be a closer again, and probably before Storen returns.

Don't tell Clippard. He might go postal.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Kirbs said...
And btw, is this Detwilers last shot to get it right with CMW back? I believe he's given up 6 in his last 2?

May 24, 2012 10:30 AM


I think every start going forward is a 1 bad start away to changing places with CMW. The team can't continue to see 5 inning outings that resemble his last 2 starts with CMW in waiting.

I'm expecting a gem from Detwiler on Friday. I don't think he goes deep into the game but I do think he will do very well.

Doc said...

About Harper not taking 2nd on RZim's hit---I thought at the time that it should have been the coach's call.

So who was Davey unhappy with, 1B coach or Harper???

Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

He really turned on the jets coming around second. If he'd been running like that from the start, he could have cruised into third standing up.

And been ... still on third. Definition of nit-picking.
Give the man credit, and then just stop; don't take it back with the other hand.

I'm enjoying the Crashification of Harper.

I wonder how hurt Zim is, really. Contrary to what someone posted earlier, they are pitching him inside, and he's missing it, or taking it (although the strike zone was pretty generous on that side last night).

Steady Eddie said...

ehay2k @ 10:04 -- I wasn't trying to get on you, you said it better than I did. I was just trying to indicate, in a little too cursory way, that we were on the same page that Harp had to say something.

Sue @ 10:34 -- wonder if McCatty's comments about HRod were a little good cop, bad cop. McC has to deal with all the pitchers in detail, daily, so he could then say "gee kid, I think you should get more chances to close, but the boss has to look at the big picture."

Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

About Harper not taking 2nd on RZim's hit---I thought at the time that it should have been the coach's call.

So who was Davey unhappy with, 1B coach or Harper???



Harper, absolutely. Situation in front of him (Pence has a good arm, and likes to use it, not-plus speed on third), play in front of Harper (hard-hit one-hop right at Pence, who comes up throwing home), as soon as he confirms the throw is going to the plate, as he should already be taking a hard turn around first, he can accelerate to second. The one thing they aren't likely to do is throw behind him to first in that situation. Got to get to second there.

But Bryce doesn't seem to mind correction at all. Good kid.

Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

That said, if Bo had held Espinosa, Harper might well have been out at second, since it was a good throw. But at least it would have taken 2 good throws to get him, it would probably have been close, and who knows, maybe Ruiz throws it into center.

natsfan1a said...

I don't really care one way or the other about facing the O's (except that it's a break from the dual broadcast booth if we don't - yay), but could "prime" be referring to visiting teams that would draw higher ticket prices?

NatsLady said...

For those wondering about the Ballmer-Nats rivalry under the new format--sadly, not so much. It looks like every third year we would get the six game set.

Interleague play will be based on a rotating division format, but may include no more than one series against a prime inter-league rival unless they play two two-game series.In the years when the corresponding divisions are scheduled for Interleague play, two series of three or fewer games against the prime inter-league rival may be played.
May 24, 2012 9:51 AM

Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

Wasn't that after Ruiz got the foul ball off his right hand?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Soul, when you think about it, that is one of those plays with Harper's hustle and -if- Bo holds Espi it is 2nd and 3rd with one out and Zimmerman stepping into the batters box.

Section 222 said...

And been ... still on third. Definition of nit-picking.

Actually, he was shaken up by his slide into 3rd. Could have saved himself the pain by running hard out of the box.

No, he didn't cost us the game. No one did last night, except maybe Bud Selig for not suspending Hamels for the rest of the year. But hustle makes a difference, in many obvious and not so obvious ways. Harper is showing us, and his much older and more experienced teammates, what's possible.

JD said...

'LaRoche and Desi as a duo have carried this team and BHarper has really been a force in his 1st month of action.'

LaRoche absolutely. Desi still has to get that OBP to a respectable area (it's .299 now) before I concede that he is a force; he has admittedly had an excellent power start to the season. I am just not sure that this is sustainable.

Every time I see Harper I become more convinced of the fact that he will be a top echelon player for years to come; I'm talking Pujols, Kemp, Braun level; maybe better. I thought he needed to be in the minors all year and that he would struggle in the bigs but he's so much better than the alternatives even with the struggles.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Section 222, I am with you. Until Flores got past 1st base he really started to run hard. The head first slide wasn't a great idea also. Harper would have been running for an inside the park HR in that same situation.

Harp, Desi, Espi, and Lombo really show some great hustle which shows in their XBH numbers. It isn't always about raw speed rather hustling out of the box.

NatsLady said...

Wasn't able to see much of the game due to work, and don't feel like watching Colbert today on mlb.tv, but I did see one of RZ's at bats (not the single) and he doesn't look like himself.

Spent the morning reading the new CBA, which is now online, all 312 pages of it, in PDF. Most of it is not exciting, but one thing caught my eye: they are "sunsetting" the "luxury tax." It will not be in effect after 2016. What I'm wondering is, does that mean it will no longer exist or does that mean it can be renegotiated and the Yanks et al, can't assume it will exist after 2016?

Section 222 said...

Ghost, agreed. And don't get me started about head first slides. Harper seems to switch off, but too often is going in head first. I wish he'd just slide feet first all the time and protect himself. RZ too. After Nyjer got hurt I remember the Nats were making a big deal out of that. Looks like they've abandoned the project. Too bad.

NatsLady said...

JD--I would say Harper is not "struggling" at the plate, he is "adjusting." Colbert--a lefty who has one of the best change-ups--threw him a bunch, and Harper didn't get them--YET. We knew that was a weakness, and so does he (and Eck).

It's more in defense that I'd like to see improvement, but a lot of that is reps and maybe Werth and Ankiel helping him with where to position himself. I really liked that outfield assist/double-play, that is pure Jayson.

(1) Learn your zone, and be aware of where other fielders are. They too can catch fly balls;
(2) Throw in the direction of the cut off man, y'know, once in a while;
(3) Play in more major-league parks. They each have their quirks, wind gusts, sun angles, etc. That just comes with time and experience.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JD, Desmond shines in the moment and will never be a high OBP guy. Thats not him so savor that the Runs Created are excellent. He is #1 in shortstop XBH in the Majors and #4 for shortstop slugging in the Majors and #5 in the Majors in Runs Created at a 26.5 rating.

In his 44 high leverage plate appearances, he is slashing .381/.386/.643/1.029 which is #1 for shortstops.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Section 222 said...
Ghost, agreed. And don't get me started about head first slides. Harper seems to switch off, but too often is going in head first. I wish he'd just slide feet first all the time and protect himself. RZ too. After Nyjer got hurt I remember the Nats were making a big deal out of that. Looks like they've abandoned the project. Too bad.

May 24, 2012 11:27 AM


Rizzo should be requiring any of his guys who insist on doing head first slides to put on those hand and wrist protectors that many of the players are wearing once they get on base.

JD said...

'Desmond shines in the moment and will never be a high OBP guy.'

Which to me is what prevents him from being a star. The stats you mention are excellent and the defense has been great and if all that is sustainable then I will come over to your side. Interestingly enough Desi struck out taking on a pitch that was right down the middle against Paplebon in the 9th; go figure

NatsLady said...

JD, I dunno. Last year he was a mental case (he said so himself), dropping routine grounders and iffy at the plate. This year he is rising to the top of the SS list. Who is to say that next year he won't be better still? It's not as if he's thirty-five...

JD said...

Nats Lady,

I agree with your Harper comments completely. I thought he had some of the best at bats against both Halladay and Hammels; much more professional at bats than Desi or Espi and for that matter RZ as well.

Most of the mistakes in the fields are mistakes of youth and aggression; nothing lazy, no poor reads or jumps so it's all correctable.

JD said...

'JD, I dunno. Last year he was a mental case (he said so himself), dropping routine grounders and iffy at the plate. This year he is rising to the top of the SS list. Who is to say that next year he won't be better still? It's not as if he's thirty-five...'

Very good points indeed. He just shouldn't treat walks as failures; the ultimate goal is to prevent making an out.It's as simple as that.

JD said...

BTW; I think I've seen enough of Nady. If he has to be on the roster at least he should have his butt nailed to the bench; 1 at bat per game max. no?

Soul Possession, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

Slide, Kelly, Slide

Recorded by George J. Gaskin (1893)
Published by Frank Harding, New York (1889)

Slide, Kelly, Slide!
Your running's a disgrace!
Slide, Kelly, Slide!
Stay there, hold your base!

If some one doesn't steal you,
And your batting doesn't fail you,
They'll take you to Australia!
Slide, Kelly, Slide!

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