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Cubs manager Joe Maddon doesn't get criticism of Bryce Harper

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Cubs manager Joe Maddon doesn't get criticism of Bryce Harper

Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper has endured an unprecedented amount of hype over the last seven or so years since he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. That attention followed him through college, the minor leagues and now through four seasons in the majors.

When you are under such a bright spotlight, people will form strong opinions, both positive and negative. Cubs manager Joe Maddon, for one, doesn't see why so many people criticize Harper.

“I don’t know what everybody else doesn’t like,” Maddon told CSN Chicago. “I like players that play hard and care and obviously he’s pretty good. So I probably would like him.”

Harper and the Nationals are currently playing at the Cubs, who have a phenom of their own in Kris Bryant. Bryant has a much different personality and has not received nearly as much scrutiny as Harper has, at least so far.

That concept was revitalized in recent weeks as Harper was twice ejected from games. The second time he now-famously said “I don’t think 40,000 people came to watch him ump tonight" about Marvin Hudson. Clearly Maddon doesn't understand the backlash that ensued.

The love is being shared both ways this series between Harper and the Cubs. Harper himself talked about his affinity for Wrigley Field.

“I love Wrigley,” Harper said. “It’s a lot of fun playing here.

“I enjoy playing here and San Fran and Boston. Those are the three. It just feels like you’re in a ballpark in your backyard playing the game.”

The Nationals continue their series with the Cubs on Tuesday night with a 7:00 p.m. start. Jordan Zimmermann and Kyle Hendricks are the starting pitchers.

For more on Harper and Bryant and the series, read the full story on CSN Chicago.

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Bryce Harper drives in 100th RBI of season

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Bryce Harper drives in 100th RBI of season

Despite an unsuccessful season, Nationals fans have something to celebrate. Bryce Harper has hit his 100th RBI of the season.

100 RBIs is the most-ever for Harper. His previous personal best being 99 in 2015. 

Harper's 100th came off of a sacrifice fly to left field in the bottom of the fourth, scoring Adam Eaton.

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BRING. US. YOUR. 100. EMOJIS.

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Additionally, Monday night's game against the Miami Marlins was the 154th game played for Harper, who appeared in 153 last season.

The Nationals-Marlins series will be the final homestand for the Nats who will end their disappointing season next week in Colorado against the Rockies. 2018 is the first time in three seasons that the Nationals did not clinch at least a playoff berth.

As Harper nears free agency status with next week's season-end, his time in Washington may end but his legacy with the Nationals will live on.

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Nationals end disappointing season with final home series vs. Marlins

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Nationals end disappointing season with final home series vs. Marlins

WASHINGTON -- The disappointing Washington Nationals close out their home schedule with a three-game series against the Miami Marlins beginning Monday night (7:05 p.m. ET).

After dropping three of four to the fourth-place New York Mets over the weekend, third-place Washington (77-77) needs to go 4-2 this weekend to cap a seventh straight winning season.

Miami right-hander Sandy Alcantara (2-1, 2.35) and right-hander Stephen Strasburg (9-7, 3.83) square off in a rematch of a Sept. 18 pairing won by Strasburg and Washington, 4-2. Strasburg allowed two runs on five hits over six innings, while striking out 11 and walking two.

Over his last five starts, Strasburg is 3-0 with a 2.64 ERA and 38 strikeouts.

"He's been really good," Nationals manager Dave Martinez told The Washington Post. "He's pitching now. He's mixing all of his pitches in and attacking the strike zone."

Strasburg is 17-7 with a 3.04 ERA in 30 career starts against Miami.

Alcantara lasted just four innings against Washington, allowing three earned runs on six hits and six walks in absorbing his first loss of the season.

"When we talk about young guys, this is what we see," Marlins manager Don Mattingly told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "We see good and then we see some ones that are not as good. Today, the command didn't seem to be there. A lot of misses, counts get bad and a lot of pitches in a short period of time.

"It's something he'll be able to learn from and you've got to continue to work and be consistent with what you do and that's what separates the guys who are going to be really good and the guys who are going to be OK."

Miami finished the home portion of its schedule with a 6-0 win over the Reds Sunday, taking three of four in the weekend series. At 62-93 with one game unlikely to be made up, the Marlins should avoid 100 losses but also won't approach their 77 wins of a year ago.

"No matter what, we knew what we were kind of embarking on this year, with a lot of the changes," Mattingly told mlb.com. "The new direction of the club, under the new ownership. You understand all that. Still, the losses add up, and those are hard to deal with.

"But I've been proud of the guys. I've felt they've continued to play hard and continued to give you the effort, and that's not easy to do when you're taking that many losses on the chin."

Washington is also playing out the string after being eliminated from postseason contention on Saturday. They lost 8-6 to the Mets in Sunday's finale.

Twenty-five-year-old rookie Erick Fedde, the team's first-round pick in the 2014 draft, is among those bidding for a 2019 starting rotation spot. Against the Mets Sunday, he lasted only 3 1/3 innings, giving up three runs in a no-decision.

In nine starts this season, Fedde has yet to go beyond six innings.

"There are times when I'm like: 'I can pitch at this level, I can be successful and I think I can dominate,'" he told MASN.com. "And then there are times that are like: 'What are you doing out there?' But I think that comes with the learning curve, and I just need to make sure that isn't a very long learning curve."

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