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The Baseball Show: Harper sparking potent lineup

May 18, 2015, 11:15 AM EDT

May 17, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) celebrates with teammates after scoring during the sixth inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

This week’s episode of ‘The Baseball Show’ featured lots of talk about the Nationals’ offense and what Bryce Harper has been doing lately. In case you haven’t heard, the guy has been playing pretty decent.

Harper isn’t the only player hitting well in the Nats’ lineup, though, so what sparked their offensive turnaround? In this first clip Mark, Joe Orsulak and host Sebastian Salazar take a look.

The second segment is about Stephen Strasburg and the third is about Clint Robinson pitching against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

What is the reason for the Nats’ turnaround at the plate?

Is Strasburg back on track?

On Robinson becoming the first Nats position player to pitch:

  1. unterp - May 18, 2015 at 11:28 AM

    we should chant “overrated” when he comes to the plate…

    • ArVAFan - May 18, 2015 at 12:59 PM

      Oh, to make up for the Padres fans chanting M-V-P yesterday?

      • Section 222 - May 18, 2015 at 4:34 PM

        Weren’t those Nats fans at the game in S.D?

  2. slidell2 - May 18, 2015 at 12:06 PM

    Comparing Stanton with Harper- I was a bit surprised, looking at League stats, that Stanton’s line, with the exception of HRs and RBIs, is rather mundane. Especially striking is BBs; only 17 compared to Harp’s 36. People have commented on Bryce’s lack of “protection”- Stanton arguably has much less. Either Giancarlo has an exploitable flaw, is a wild swinger or, the “protection” theory is overrated.

    • jd - May 18, 2015 at 12:08 PM

      ‘protection’ theory is overrated’ —–

      Bingo !

    • Bruxtun - May 18, 2015 at 12:22 PM

      Stanton is vulnerable to the slider. Our boys have done well to exploit that. I hate to mention it but I’ve also noticed a “flinch” when you pitch in on him about letter high. I could be imagining that though.

      • slidell2 - May 18, 2015 at 12:31 PM

        “flinch”- a bit understandable given that awful beaning last Sept. The sub-conscious at work.

  3. Eric - May 18, 2015 at 12:08 PM

    • Eugene in Oregon - May 18, 2015 at 1:07 PM

      Bob Horner? That’s a name from the past.

      • tcostant - May 18, 2015 at 1:44 PM

        Horner makes sense, I remember that he skipped the minors and when directly to the majors after being drafted.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 18, 2015 at 2:57 PM

        Well, they couldn’t very well list names from the future, now, could they?
        Wait, maybe they could …

  4. David Proctor - May 18, 2015 at 1:34 PM

    Apologies if anybody has mentioned it, but is anyone surprised that Bud Black bit on MW’s decoy? He had Roark warming in the 5th inning with the threat to pinch hit for Strabsurg if they intentionally walked Espi. Bud Black said after the game that’s why they pitched to Espi. He said he was scared of MW countering with Span.

    However, I’m not sure I ever recall MW taking a starter out at 80 pitches in a 2 run game in the 5th inning. Literally, I can’t remember him ever doing it, even in games where he probably should have. Maybe this would have been the exception, but I’m not convinced he ever intended to hit for Strasburg.

    • Hiram Hover - May 18, 2015 at 2:06 PM

      Interesting – hadn’t seen that – thanks.

      I do wonder, though – do you believe Black, or was that after-the-fact CYA?

      If the situations were reversed and MW did the same thing, and then offered the same explanation at his presser, half the commenters here would call him stupid (for getting deked) and half would call him a liar (saying that was just a post-hoc excuse). The other half would call him both.

      • masterfishkeeper - May 18, 2015 at 2:22 PM

        3 halves?

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 18, 2015 at 2:28 PM

        There’s three kinds of people: those who can count, and those who can’t.

      • Hiram Hover - May 18, 2015 at 2:40 PM

        Yogi math.

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 18, 2015 at 2:27 PM

      I thought at the time Matt was late, if anything, to get Roark loose. If Espinosa had walked, then Matt would had to have hit for Strasburg there, IMO. It was getting late in a close game. Strasburg hasn’t been going deep into games lately, so there was no reason to think he would, this time. Up to that point in the game, the Nats had nothing much going on at the plate, and with a leadoff triple down 2-0, you HAVE to get that run in. He can’t let the pitcher make the last out.

      I don’t even know where this bluff idea came from. OF COURSE he would hit for Strasburg.

      • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 18, 2015 at 2:33 PM

        I was wondering at the time about even putting Jayson Werth out on deck, just to sell the idea, would have been a nice touch. But we’ll probably never know what Matt intended.

      • Section 222 - May 18, 2015 at 4:54 PM

        After Espi’s homer, FP said some credit should go to MW for having Roark in the bullpen, making Black think that MW would pinch hit for Stras. I don’t know exactly when Roark got up in the pen. But I think it’s doubtful that it was a pure bluff. It was early to PH for Stras, but Kennedy was dealing up until that point, and I think Ghost pointed out yesterday, Stras didn’t have that many pitches in his previous outing. So there would be good reason to PH for him if Espi were IBB’d.

        I love the idea that Span is viewed as in intimidating pinch hitter, but I have a feeling there was a bit of CYA in Black’s comment.

  5. masterfishkeeper - May 18, 2015 at 2:09 PM

    Off topic, but where are all the folks who used to insist that Espinosa couldn’t hit because he stubbornly refused to have rotator cuff surgery?

    • Sec 3, My Sofa - May 18, 2015 at 2:47 PM

      They’ve recently given up worrying out loud about Zim’s throws from first base, and are lying low now that Bryce is aptly-rated. They are probably getting ready to declare Michael A. Taylor a bust, and checking the window to see whether it’s half-open or half-closed.

      • adcwonk - May 18, 2015 at 4:00 PM

        As opposed to the good ole’ days when we heard that “Span = Nyjer” and Werth was the most expensive bench player

      • Section 222 - May 18, 2015 at 5:01 PM

        I still worry about Zim’s throws from first. Thrilled with his defensive play there, although he’s not the scooper that ALR was. Yet.

        Zi’m will airmail a throw home and costs the Nats a run, and maybe a game before the season ends. That was my prediction before, and I’m sticking to it. In the meantime I’m happy that it hasn’t happened yet, and I think he’s got a shot at the GG over there.

    • Section 222 - May 18, 2015 at 4:58 PM

      Here we go again with the “where are all the folks stuff.” Boring.

      Actually, I’m still here. I’m thrilled and kind of amazed that Espi is hitting this year. The fact remains he was awful in the playoffs in 2012 because his shoulder was hurt and he didn’t say so. He tubed his team’s season in 2013 because his wrist was hurt and he didn’t say so. And his 2014 was pretty much a total waste as well because he couldn’t make contact with the pitched baseball. 2 1/2 years is a long time to wait. But pat yourself n the back all you want if you’ve never criticized him and expected that he’d “put it together.” My conscience is clear.

  6. natsfan1a - May 18, 2015 at 3:22 PM

    Speaking of the kid, niiice:

    Mark Zuckerman āœ” @ZuckermanCSN

    Bryce Harper is NL Player of the Week. Just as he was last week. 10th-ever to do that back-to-back.

  7. scmargenau - May 19, 2015 at 12:22 AM




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As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
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