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Daniel Murphy on his failed steal attempt in Game 1 of NLDS

Daniel Murphy on his failed steal attempt in Game 1 of NLDS

All season long, Dusty Baker has preached the impact that speed and heady base running can have on a game. But what Daniel Murphy did in Friday’s 4-3 loss to the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLDS showed the flipside of being aggressive on the base paths.   

After drawing a one-out walk in the seventh inning, Murphy unexpectedly attempted to steal second base off Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez.

The decision backfired. Murphy was thrown out, leaving some to wonder why a player presumably still recovering from a left buttocks injury is trying to test himself in a critical game.

Baker and Murphy admitted afterward the steal was entirely latter’s idea, and was not apart of a hit-and-run or a called steal from the dugout.

“Our guys have a green light,” Baker said. “If they think a guy is slow to the plate, which Baez is. I guess the leg felt better than I imagined, because he’s running pretty good on that ball.”

“I thought [Baez] was slow enough for me to get [to second],” Murphy added. “Unfortunately he wasn't.”

The blunder took the tying run off the bases with Anthony Rendon at the plate, wasting another promising opportunity on a night full of missed chances. In other words, it was the type of mistake that gets magnified in the postseason.

“There's two choices on that, either be safe or don't run,” Murphy said. “It was a bad play.”

Caught stealing aside, the Nats were pleased to have Murphy back in the starting lineup for the first time since Sept. 17. The NL MVP candidate didn’t appear to look rusty, going 1-for-3 with a walk in Game 1 and looked no worse for wear while fielding.

But stealing bases hasn’t been his forte in 2016, as Murphy only swiped five bags in eight tries in the regular season. So as outs become more precious for the Nats in October, so too is balance between when to go for it and when to play it safe.

“If you’re going to run, you’re going to get caught stealing sometimes,” Baker said. “Like I said in the past, that’s why it’s called stealing. And you’re going to get caught sometimes.”

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The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful


The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful

It's that wonderful time of year again — when baseball teams flock to warmer climates for spring training and the regular season is practically around the corner — and Bryce Harper is already killing it.

It took the Washington Nationals a few games to brush away their offseason cobwebs and get back into gear, but since the beginning of March, they're riding a five-game win streak as of Sunday the 4th.

They are 6-4-1 in spring training going into Monday's matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Since Thursday, the Nats have taken down — in order — the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, defending World Series champion Houston Astros, the Detroit Tigers and the Mets again. Sunday's 6-2 win against the Tigers was in large part thanks to Harper's bat, as the star of the team drilled his first home run of spring training. 


Turn up the volume for this one because the sound of Harper's contact with the ball is just beautiful — and perhaps enough to get you pumped for the March 29 opener.

Harper blew this ball away in the bottom of the third for a two-run homer with Howie Kendrick on base. He also had a single in the fourth and finished the game with three RBI.

Gio Gonzalez was the winning pitcher for the Nats. 


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Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches


Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches

We are fortunate enough to live in a world where we can watch a former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback (attempt to) hit against a three-time Cy Young pitcher in a Major League Baseball preseason game.

Max Scherzer took less than a minute to strike out Tim Tebow, who was batting cleanup for the Mets in a spring training game Friday. You can watch the whole at-bat here:

It looks like Tebow and Scherzer are starting to develop a pattern - last year’s matchup between the two went down the exact same way.

Tebow was able to redeem himself later in the game with his first hit of the year against Nats prospect Erick Fedde. He will likely begin the season with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, but Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he believes Tebow will eventually see some at-bats in the Majors.