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Wilmer Difo laments baserunning mistake in ninth inning vs. Mets

Wilmer Difo laments baserunning mistake in ninth inning vs. Mets

Rookie Wilmer Difo was presented with a tough, split-second decision in the bottom of the ninth in the Nats' loss to the Mets on Tuesday night that perhaps showed his inexperience in situational baserunning. That, or he just got unlucky and simply guessed wrong on a quick play that could have gone either way.

The Nats had just tied the Mets with two runs off closer Jeurys Familia when Difo was summoned by manager Dusty Baker to pinch-run for catcher Wilson Ramos at first base. Clint Robinson was at the plate and Anthony Rendon was on second. There was one out and the Nats were hunting for a walk-off win.

Robinson fought Familia with three foul balls in a 1-2 count before hitting a line drive to T.J. Rivera at second base. Rivera caught the ball out of the air, but low enough so that his glove was touching the ground. Instead of running back to first to tag, Difo initially took off for second. That allowed the Mets to complete an inning-ending double play by throwing behind him to first, despite Rivera first throwing to second.

It was a confusing sequence and one that ended a promising rally for the Nats.

"That particular play was very tough, hard to read," Difo said through an interpreter. "I got a good view of the angle on the ball coming down, and my assumption was it was going to short-hop him real quick. I was wrong.”

Difo said he first thought the ball actually hit the ground and it didn't help that Rivera threw to second first in an attempt to get Rendon on his way back to tag the base. That could easily have tricked Difo into thinking the ball hit the ground, as either way Rivera would have incentive to throw to second.

Baker viewed Difo getting thrown out as a teaching lesson.

"He was just trying a little bit too hard, he'll learn from it. His run didn't mean anything so that what happens sometimes. Especially when you're excited and you're a kid. Sometimes young players will make mistakes and hopefully they'll learn from it."

That said, Baker acknowledged the difficulty of the decision itself.

"There wasn't much space between the ground and his glove. You don't know if he had trapped it, so that's a tough read. That's a real tough read especially for a young player that's trying to make his mark. We're not going to blame him," Baker said.

[RELATED: Melancon allows go-ahead homer as Mets snap Nats' winning streak]


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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.