Nationals

Quick Links

Bryce Harper now only has as many or more HRs than 6 MLB teams

usatsi_10776884.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Bryce Harper now only has as many or more HRs than 6 MLB teams

OK, so the Washington Nationals aren’t off to the best start to the 2018 season. But Bryce Harper and his jaw-dropping stats are a different story.

Through the Nats’ first nine games of the season, the team is currently riding a five-game losing streak — which is could end Monday in the first of a three-game home series against the Atlanta Braves — but Harper’s bat is on fire.

Yes, it’s still incredibly early in the season, but his numbers are impressive regardless. At one point, Harper was hitting more homers than seven MLB teams.

So let’s check in on where that number is now, plus look at a few other stunning stats from his first nine games.

RELATED: METS SWEEP NATS IN 3-GAME SERIES

1. He still has the same or more homers than a fifth of MLB teams

So last week, he had more dingers than seven teams, and now, that number dropped to six. With six of his 10 season hits being home runs, Harper has as many as the Cincinnati Reds and more than the Dodgers (4), Rays (4), Marlins (3), Tigers (2) and Royals (2).

His six homers are also the most for any player in the majors, with the Twins’ Brian Dozier, Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon and White Sox’s Matt Davidson behind him with four apiece.

RELATED: HARPER'S HOME RUN TRACKER

2. Making history

Harper is the third player in MLB history to rack up at least six home runs and 12 BB through the team’s first 10 games of the season — according to ESPN Stats & Info — and he did it in nine games and actually has 13 BB. He joins Barry Bonds (2002) and Jim Thome (2006) in that exclusive stats club.

3. Sluggers gonna slug

So naturally with numbers like that, Harper’s slugging percentage is pretty high. With a .357 batting average, his slugging percentage is at 1.000. So yeah, that’s pretty good and also the best of any other player across both leagues. The Yankees’ Didi Gregorius is behind him at .906.

4. Hand in hand

Going along with his crazy slugging percentage and his .535 on-base percentage, Harper naturally has an MLB-high 1.535 OPS. However, Gregorius isn’t far behind him with a 1.430 OPS.

Again, it’s still very, very early in the season, but if Harper can maintain numbers even close to this throughout the season, he’ll be unstoppable — although, as we’ve seen through the first few games, it’s not enough to carry the Nats to victory.

RELATED: ANTHONY RENDON'S QUESTIONABLE EJECTION

Quick Links

Astros wade through first boo-filled night of many to come

Astros wade through first boo-filled night of many to come

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The only agreed upon factor of Saturday night’s spring training opener was affinity for Dusty Baker. 

Baker, alone at home plate to receive a ceremonial first pitch, raised his hand to the crowd when announced. Both sides cheered. Those in red stood, some shouted his name. Others on the Houston side could unabashedly applaud Baker. He represented what’s next, not what was.

But the past chased the Astros from the second the ballpark opened. Any Houston highlights were followed by hefty boos. “FOR THE H” flashed on the right-center field video board during the evening on what was supposed to be an Astros “home” game. However, there was nothing warm and fuzzy about the location for the Astros, an experience sure to track them outside of Houston throughout the season.

The Astros were booed en masse since Baker did not play any of his regulars. Myles Straw, Jeremy Pena and Taylor Jones began the game against Max Scherzer. It’s difficult to let Nos. 3, 89 and 79, respectively, have it on the first night of spring training. But, those on the team in 2017 remained safely in the dugout, prompting an expansion of targets.

Before Scherzer began his night, the Astros’ mascot, Orbit, ran across the face of the Washington dugout with an oversized Houston flag. He, too, was booed -- with fervor. Anything representing the Astros was in play since their main facets were not on the field.

Two signs carried by Nationals fans were taken by a ballpark employee. Some Washington fans banged on their seats during the game to mimic the Astros’ prior method for stealing signs. Scherzer thought something colorful had a chance to leak into the setting.

“I figured something like that was going to happen,” Scherzer said. “I got a good taste of what it’s like [when] facing [Bryce Harper] last year when we had our whole crowd going. I thought our fans would boo. I didn’t realize it was going to be that loud when I face Harp. That was a playoff atmosphere. Everything gets turned up a notch when the fans get into it.”

Scherzer threw 22 pitches, 13 for strikes in two innings. He allowed a single and struck out two batters he’s unlikely to ever face again. Otherwise, he was nonplussed to face the Astros in a game rain forced to pause, then stop, after two innings and a head-scratching delay.

“We won the World Series,” Scherzer said. “It wasn’t like I have a vendetta to hold. So, for me, over here we’re just trying to move forward and get ready for our season.”

Baker thought the reception went as expected.

“There were a lot of Nationals fans here,” Baker said. “We had a lot of fans here, too. You could tell who was for us and who was against us. All in all, it wasn’t too bad. You kind of expect to get some. But they weren’t too bad, though.”

So, the night ultimately served as the expected start. Scherzer pitched well. The Astros were booed.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS:

Quick Links

Astros booed, fans' signs taken in spring training opener against Nationals

Astros booed, fans' signs taken in spring training opener against Nationals

As if this week hadn’t already been bad enough for the Houston Astros, it got a bit worse on Saturday afternoon when they faced the Washington Nationals in the spring training opener. 

The Astros took the field at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and were welcomed by the fans with an eruption of boos. The two teams share the facility, but it was Houston's home game. 

Since 2017 Washington and Houston have shared their spring training facility in West Palm Beach and made it a tradition to kick off their respective Grapefruit League schedules against each other. They will play six times this spring - though Saturday's opener was postponed by rain after a scoreless two innings. 

One courageous fan really got into the act, holding up a sign reading "Houston *'s" that was eventually confiscated by ballpark personnel, according to the Associated Press.

If this start is any indication of what they will face throughout this season, it's going to be a long 2020 for the Astros. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: