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Harper hitless in 3 straight games for 1st time this year

Sep 25, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

AP

There have been no shortage of remarkable Bryce Harper stats this season, but among the more remarkable ones was this little nugget: He hadn’t gone hitless in three straight games at any point in 2015.

Until Thursday.

Yes, that impressive streak came to an end when Harper grounded out to short to conclude the Nationals’ 5-4 loss to the Orioles, capping an 0-for-3 afternoon and an 0-for-6 series.

The streak was all the more amazing when you consider the diminished opportunities Harper has had to record hits all season long. Yes, he went 0-for-6 in this series, but he also drew seven walks. His on-base percentage for the series still was a ridiculous .538.

And then consider this: Harper had only gone hitless in back-to-back games six times all year prior to this week. That’s remarkable consistency at the plate, especially for a guy who leads the league in homers.

And now consider this: Harper hasn’t gone back-to-back games without at least reaching base once in 2015. He has failed to reach base in only 12-of-145 total games.

All told, Harper has reached base 292 times this season, an average of 2.01 times per game. Only Reds first baseman Joey Votto has reached more times (303 in 149 games) in the majors.

No player in Nationals club history had previously reached base more than 268 times (Nick Johnson in 2006). Three more times on base and Harper will surpass Frank Howard’s total of 294 from 1970 (the expansion Senators’ record). Five more times and Harper will surpass Vladimir Guerrero’s franchise record (296 in 2002).

And if he does it eight more times in the season’s final 10 games, Harper will become the first Washington player to reach base 300 times since Eddie Yost (318 times in 1950).

Just another reason Harper’s performance this year deservedly ranks among the best we’ve ever seen.

  1. Section 222 - Sep 25, 2015 at 10:11 AM

    Among the best we’ve seen, but if he continues to develop, perhaps not among the best we’ll ever see. This player is truly extraordinary and we are lucky to get a chance to watch his early years. I only hope I live long enough to see his entire career!

    • Steady Eddie - Sep 25, 2015 at 11:24 AM

      I only hope (1) he stays healthy and (2) he stays with the Nats for most or all of his career. Yes, it will cost an unprecedented bundle, but who are they saving the money for if not for him? (This may be one time that Boras’ refusal to have his bigger clients sign deals much if at all before free agency will help the Nats as they will have shed Werth’s and almost all of Zim’s contracts by then.

  2. natsfan1a - Sep 25, 2015 at 10:12 AM

    M.V.P. 😀

  3. nats106 - Sep 25, 2015 at 10:15 AM

    That, in itself is just an amazing stat. Unbelievable. Any stat nuts know our record when Harper goes hitless? (Games with all walks don’t count)

  4. JayB - Sep 25, 2015 at 10:24 AM

    Sad to think this team has completely wasted that year….it is very possible they will never see it again before Harper walks……Rizzo has to own this….he built a flawed team with a incredible weak manager and not leadership……all we heard from Zimm and Werth is we have time and I am not worried…..same with MW and Rizzo….now it is wasted.

    • alexva6 - Sep 25, 2015 at 10:45 AM

      interesting take, don’t think I’ve heard you say this before

  5. tcostant - Sep 25, 2015 at 10:26 AM

    Buck is smart, avoid Harper beating you and you sweep. i’m surprised it doesn’t happen more.

    • Section 222 - Sep 25, 2015 at 10:41 AM

      Very good point. Almost everyone who takes him on gets burned at some point.

      Three games without a hit and his batting average fell to .339. Unreal.

    • JayB - Sep 25, 2015 at 10:49 AM

      Buck is smart….when there is only 30 jobs in the world you should be able to get someone who is smart.

    • bowdenball - Sep 25, 2015 at 11:18 AM

      The Braves walked him four times in the first two games of a series in Atlanta at the beginning of the month. They lost 15-1 when they walked him 4 times and 5-2 when they walked him twice. In total the Nationals are 5-3 on the season when Harper is walked at least three times in a game and 9-9 when he’s walked twice.

      In other words it hasn’t really mattered that much this year. There’s no right way to treat him that applies in all games and situations. Harper is going to get on base whether you pitch to him or around him or intentionally walk him. What matters is what the other 24 guys do.

      • soonernat - Sep 25, 2015 at 1:59 PM

        +1

      • jeffreycbullock - Sep 25, 2015 at 3:06 PM

        Those were two games when someone else did something – that didn’t happen very much all season.

  6. nats106 - Sep 25, 2015 at 10:39 AM

    On a separate note since we’re talking about an incredible year-have any season ticket holders seen the latest offer to “swing for your tickets”?

    Really, does anybody in their right mind that they could get two swings at a pitch at Nationals Park, likely in November or December (wind usually blows from the North that time of year) and actually hit a home run?

    Also I would think the ADA would have made this offer illegal, but maybe their attorneys already said there is no way anyone can do it anyway.

    The sales/marketing group think we’re stupid to think we would have a legitimate shot at hitting a home run there. They are out of touch on what’s happening on the field, otherwise they’d be coming up with an offer that doesn’t insult our intelligence.

    • trfwans - Sep 25, 2015 at 11:25 AM

      It’s no different than letting people try to sink a free throw from mid court or further back to win a pile of cash. Does that kind of thing insult your apparently limited intelligence too?

      I think the Nats set this up in the spirit of fun. How often does any fan get the chance to step on a major league ballfield and take a swing? I for one will surely go down there for this unless I have some scheduling conflict. I’ll put on my Desmond jersey and swing away. Why not? If only I could get them to bring out Matt Williams to ask the pitching machine if it really wants me before I step in. But he’ll be fired by then…

      • Section 222 - Sep 25, 2015 at 11:58 AM

        You’ll probably strike out, just like Desi.. But it will be a blast!

    • bowdenball - Sep 25, 2015 at 11:29 AM

      I’m not sure what your problem is here. Of course its unlikely, they’re not going to give away free season tickets. Everyone involved on both sides is aware of that. That doesn’t mean it’s not fun. Are you anti-fun?

      • nats106 - Sep 25, 2015 at 12:02 PM

        Thanks for the countering view points. I guess my aggravation with other aspects of the season across the board has soured my sense of fun here. I viewed it differently than you all did and looks like I should take it from a different perspective.

        Fun was attending the “hot stove” last February, or being able to get a Christmas picture at the park. I just didn’t see this as fun or a fun event, but everyone has differences of opinion on that.

    • Section 222 - Sep 25, 2015 at 11:45 AM

      Of course no one will hit a homer and get their tickets for free. The Nats don’t expect it will happen (otherwise they’d never make the offer), and no one who decides to try will think they have a legitimate shot either. It’s hardly insulting our intelligence. But the point is that people will have fun trying. Getting to stand at home plate at Nats Park and take a swing at a pitch from a pitching machine — That sounds kind of cool to me. Who cares if I probably will swing and miss at both pitches? If I hit a grounder to short, I’ll be thrilled.

      Plus, I hear you can send a ringer, like a son or daughter or neighbor kid who plays baseball in high school (not a college or minor league player, though), What’s wrong with that?

      I don’t get your high dudgeon about this. Would you rather they had a drawing so you have a 1 in 10,000 chance of winning instead of 1 in a million?

      • Steady Eddie - Sep 25, 2015 at 1:00 PM

        They do have to be at least 18 (have to be “eligible participant” in every respect but having signed a SPH renewal agreement).

      • Section 222 - Sep 25, 2015 at 3:21 PM

        Right. Your child or neighbor who played H.S. baseball, but not in college would qualify. Not that I have anyone in mind. I’ll probably just stand and HP and take a hack. That’s certainly not something I’m likely ever again to have a chance to do.

    • Dave - Sep 25, 2015 at 12:31 PM

      If anybody goes for this, the Nats should have video cameras running the whole time. If somebody happens to make it, they should play it on the scoreboard next year.

      I was at the season-ticket batting practice event, early session. The very most studly athletic types I saw managed to hit the ball to the outfield grass. A couple of guys actually made it almost to the warning track, but no one I saw hit the ball to the track. And this was with five pitches.

      Ain’t gonna happen, but as others are saying, it’ll be a lot of fun to try.

      (I was proud to hit a couple balls past the pitcher’s mound. My physically fit 31-year-old son hit one past second base. We both thought we had a good morning at the plate.)

    • jeffreycbullock - Sep 25, 2015 at 3:08 PM

      If someone does connect, then the following year the rules will stipulate the contestant must have never picked up a bat – no wait, considering how cheap I’ve heard the Nats are, they won’t even do it again.

  7. JayB - Sep 25, 2015 at 10:51 AM

    some people can do that….lucky on two swings but yes….plenty of people I play with and have season tickets could get that done.

    • nats106 - Sep 25, 2015 at 11:05 AM

      Wow really? Do me a favor and let me know if and when they are going to participate. I’d pay to see that happen. Go ahead and post here in the late October/November time frame if it does happen. It might be the best baseball I see this year.

    • Guapo - Sep 25, 2015 at 11:17 AM

      You get one swing on two pitched balls. Anyone who played DI ball or any form of pro ball at any point in time is ineligible. Zero risk promotion for the Nats on this one.

      • Steady Eddie - Sep 25, 2015 at 11:30 AM

        And proxies have to be at least 18 so you can’t get a high school slugger to stand in for you. Best bet is to get an 18 year old slugger who hasn’t yet played college ball.

        But even then the terms allow the Nats to adjust the pitching machine for each hitter, so you know everything will be outside to every hitter. In practice it will be no pulling allowed, and who has oppo power at that age — or any age who hasn’t ever played college or pro ball?

        Not to mention the cold weather chilling effect even if there is no wind.

      • Guapo - Sep 25, 2015 at 11:51 AM

        Under those conditions, even if you could get Harper as your proxy, with one swing, the odds are steeply stacked against you. But yeah, rising senior HS superstar is the best best. If you can get Joe Rizzo from Oakton, that might be your best bet. Good luck!

    • Reverendp - Sep 25, 2015 at 2:42 PM

      Two swings makes it unlikely for even a seasoned, active adult men’s league player. I agree with JayB that there a many enthusiastic amature players (myself included) that could hit out of Nats park. I wonder if aluminum or composite bats would be allowed (doubtful) but bringing a circa 2000 Easton Z2k 34/29 2 3/4 barrel would make it interesting.

  8. langleyclub - Sep 25, 2015 at 11:35 AM

    At least Bryce walked a few time in the Orioles series. Werth went 0 for 12 with no walks. Realize that there are many to blame for that atrocious series, but hard to win when your 3-4 hitters go 0 for the series.

    • trfwans - Sep 25, 2015 at 11:51 AM

      Werth absolutely smoked two balls during this series that if not for outstanding catches by Orioles infielders would have brought in runs. One was on Tiesday night early in the game, and the second was Machado’s catch yesterday. You can’t fault Werth for that. That’s baseball.

      • ArVAFan - Sep 25, 2015 at 12:22 PM

        Werth must have angered the BABIP gods for some reason, because all week he’s been connecting–and if he’s lucky it’s just one out: if not, it’s two. I kept thinking “Dang, one has to fall in at some point” (which is probably a slightly cleaner version of what’s he’s thinking) but it hasn’t happened.

      • bowdenball - Sep 25, 2015 at 12:22 PM

        Yup. If Werth’s line drive in the bottom of the 8th last night gets by Machado and rolls to the wall, the Nats likely win the game and the walk issued to Harper just in front of Werth is the winning run. As trfwans says, that’s just baseball.

        I don’t think the Nats played particularly poorly this series. Treinen threw a middle middle pitch that cost them yesterday’s game and obviously Desi should have gotten that bunt down (or not bunted at all), but ultimately this just wasn’t their week. It was all the mistakes, poor decisions and disappointing play in the months before this that made it the final nail in the coffin.

    • Another_Sam - Sep 25, 2015 at 12:57 PM

      Clearly need Werth back at lead off and Escobar behind Harper. That’s the vise from this easy chair.

  9. erocks33 - Sep 25, 2015 at 11:44 AM

    I just need to go back to the bullpen/starter issues for a sec. One thing I noticed was that regardless if it was a starter or reliever, there seemed to be numerous instances where the offense would score, then immediately our pitcher would give up a score in the next half inning. I decided to take a look at all the games this month (I included the 8/31 game @ STL since that was the first game in the series), and this is what I discovered:

    * The Nats played 23 games in this period (8/31 – 9/24)
    * 18 times the Nats had scored then let the other team score in the next half inning
    * 8 times this happened, the other team either tied the game or took the lead
    * The Nats record in those 23 games was 12-11

    Also, I decided to look at the number of times the Nats either had the lead or the game was tied in the 6th inning or later:

    * Again, the Nats played 23 games (8/31 – 9/24)
    * In 12 of those games, the Nats either had the lead or the game was tied in the 6th or later
    * In 3 of these 12, the Nats gave up their lead twice in the same game!
    * The Nats went 4-8 in these games

    8 losses in the month of September is bad enough. But when all of them are because the Nats pitching staff gave up the go-ahead runs in the 6th inning or later is downright embarrassing.

    • adcwonk - Sep 25, 2015 at 12:48 PM

      * In 12 of those games, the Nats either had the lead or the game was tied in the 6th or later

      * The Nats went 4-8 in these games

      Wow. That says it all right there, imho.

      That is an incredible stat.

    • Guapo - Sep 25, 2015 at 1:22 PM

      Nice work.

      The offense, over the course of the season, played well enough to win the division, despite massive injuries.

      The pitching staff (starters and the pen) under delivered all season, They were the reason the Nats were preseason favorites.

      Pitching and defense win championships.

  10. bigcat492 - Sep 25, 2015 at 1:19 PM

    Here’s a question. What do we do with Werth? He has hit .225 this year, will be 37 years old next year and is now a huge liability in left field. We all knew this was coming when we gave him the contract some years ago. I think, for the most part, he’s been good here. But it is hard to watch him flail at the plate and stumble around in LF now.

    • jeffreycbullock - Sep 25, 2015 at 3:14 PM

      He’s a huge liability in any field – countless times he turned around to play a carom off the wall and the ball didn’t even hit the wall. He could’ve been playing a deep center field in the old Polo Grounds and he would’ve turned .around to play a carom off the wall

      • Tlsmith - Sep 29, 2015 at 4:05 AM

        No point in playing Werth, Desmond. Keep Taylor somewhere else intil or unless he gets better at recognizing an outside slider. Make Ramos the backup until he changes his rediculous stance, and release Casey .

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