Game 112: Nationals at Astros
Bryce Harper had a rough game Wednesday, and as manager Davey Johnson mentioned afterward, he’s out of the starting lineup today. He went 0-for-3 with two walks and struck out looking twice, showing some pretty obvious frustration after both calls by home-plate ump Angel Hernandez.
He’s batting .176/.276/.265 since the All-Star break, and Johnson decided it was time to give him a day off. After last night’s game, Johnson seemed more disappointed with Harper’s overthrow to third base as the Astros threatened in the ninth inning. Fortunately for the Nats, Gio Gonzalez did his job backing up Ryan Zimmerman and finished the game.
“That’s just a rookie mistake. I think maybe he took his bat with him into the outfield,” Johnson said last night. “You can’t allow the winning run to go to second. That’s 101 baseball. He knows it. He was just being a little overly aggressive … but that’s not a mistake you want to be making when you’re in a pennant race.”
Harper declined to comment last night, but here’s what Johnson had to say about his at-bats, particularly the two strikeouts. Thanks to BrooksBaseball.net, you can check out the strike zone plots of Harper’s at-bats in the fourth inning and sixth inning.
“There were some questionable pitches, but he’s pressing a little bit,” Johnson said. “We put him in some situations that he likes to be in, and he didn’t have good ABs, so we’ll let him step back a little bit.”
Check out the notebook on Nationals.com a little later for more on Harper.
For now, the series finale lineup against Astros right-hander Lucas Harrell…
Steve Lombardozzi 2B
Roger Bernadina CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Michael Morse LF
Jayson Werth RF
Danny Espinosa SS
Kurt Suzuki C
Jordan Zimmermann RHP