BALTIMORE - There's just something about Camden Yards that Bryce Harper can't stand.
The Nationals' 22-year-old slugger may have notched a double and a home run in this weekend's series win against the beltway rival Orioles. But there were moments where, for whatever reason, he looked uncomfortable at the plate as he struck out four times and (uncharacteristically) failed to draw a walk in three games.
"I don't like hitting here," Harper said bluntly after Sunday's 3-2 win. "I just really don't. Plain and simple. I mean, I hate it.
"So I think being able to get back home and do the things we need to do and get back to playing in our league the next two months is going to be good for us."
Prior to Sunday's game, Harper was a .192 hitter at Camden Yards with 10 strikeouts and two walks in seven career games. His first-ever RBI at the Yards came Saturday night when he launched his 26th long ball of the season.
Sure, the Nationals and Orioles didn't make the playoffs, but that didn't stop a "Battle of the Beltways" moment from breaking out during NLCS Game 1.
Ex-National Gio Gonzalez started the game for the Brewers. In the second inning, ex-Oriole Manny Machado stepped to the plate for the Dodgers.
Here's what happened next:
If you squint, you can imagine the ball flying into the Nationals Park bullpen or the Camden Yards bleachers.
And in case you're wondering, we have indeed entered the Twilight Zone.
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The Washington Nationals picked up righty reliever Kyle Barraclough from Miami in their first offseason move to rebuild the bullpen.
The Nationals said Wednesday that they gave the Marlins international slot value in the deal.
The hard-throwing Barraclough went 1-6 with 4.20 ERA and 10 saves in 17 chances, with 61 appearances this year. He allowed one hit in 36 at-bats in June, when he was chosen NL reliever of the month, but struggled with his command the rest of the season.
Barraclough's ERA ballooned to 10.24 over his final 24 games and he lost the Marlins closer's job.
He has a career ERA of 3.21 with 279 strikeouts and 134 walks in 218 2/3 innings over four seasons, all with Miami.
Washington general manager Mike Rizzo is in need of relievers after jettisoning Shawn Kelley and Brandon Kintzler late this season.
The deal helps the Marlins in their pursuit of top international free-agent Victor Victor Mesa, a Cuban outfielder who tried out for major league scouts at Marlins Park last week.
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