Nationals

Quick Links

Harper scratched with injury before Dodgers game

batharper.png

Harper scratched with injury before Dodgers game

The Nationals were forced Tuesday night to go up against baseball’s best pitcher this season without the services of baseball’s best hitter this season.

Bryce Harper was scratched from the Nationals’ lineup with left knee soreness, the club announced about two hours before first pitch at Dodger Stadium, leaving the rest of the team to take its chances against Cy Young candidate Zack Greinke.

Harper hurt himself trying to make a diving catch of Jose Peraza’s sinking liner to right in the bottom of the third inning during Monday night’s 8-3 victory, manager Matt Williams told reporters in Los Angeles. The 22-year-old slugger finished the game with no issues, but the knee swelled up afterward. Williams told reporters no MRI was needed of the knee and Harper was available to come off the bench during Tuesday’s game.

This is the same knee Harper seriously injured in 2013, coincidentally as a result of crashing into the fence at Dodger Stadium, and though it has caused no serious problems over the last two seasons it has occasionally acted up on him. This is the first time it has forced him to miss a game this year.

After battling through a variety of injuries both significant and minor the last two seasons, Harper has managed to stay relatively healthy in 2015. He has been in the lineup for 105 of the Nationals’ 112 games to date, sidelined only a handful of times due to minor ailments.

The healthy Harper has proven to be the most-productive hitter in the sport. He entered play Tuesday with a .333 batting average, an NL-best 29 homers and an MLB-best .460 on-base percentage, .650 slugging percentage and 1.110 OPS. No player has posted an OPS that high over a full major-league season since Albert Pujols in 2008.

With Harper sitting out Tuesday’s game, first baseman Ryan Zimmerman moved up to the No. 3 spot in the Nationals lineup. Clint Robinson took over in right field and served as cleanup hitter.

Quick Links

You’ve seen Max Scherzer’s eyes plenty, but you’ve never seen Max Scherzer’s eyes like this

You’ve seen Max Scherzer’s eyes plenty, but you’ve never seen Max Scherzer’s eyes like this

Max Scherzer is a bad, bad man with a hint of crazy. Yet, situations like this are why Scherzer is nicknamed Mad Max. 

Scherzer is pitching for the Washington Nationals a day after taking a ball off the nose during batting practice. With a broken nose and a blackened patch circling underneath his right eye, Scherzer would not let the Nationals allow him to miss a start. In fact, he was adamant about starting against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday evening. 

The results, well… are straight out of a nightmare. 

Who, in their rightful mind, would step into a batter’s box against a guy that has blue, brown, and now black eyes? Especially when that guy is Scherzer, an already intimidating three-time Cy Young winner. 

In the first inning, he didn't lose a step. It was his highest average velocity in an opening frame since 2015.

But honestly, did anyone expect anything different from the Nationals ace? No one questions the heart of Scherzer. The only question will be for the Phillies and if they can get this image of Scherzer out of their heads when they go to bed tonight. 

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: 

Quick Links

With 'Baby Shark' as his new walk-up song, Gerardo Parra broke out of his slump for the Nats

gerardo_parra_usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

With 'Baby Shark' as his new walk-up song, Gerardo Parra broke out of his slump for the Nats

WASHINGTON - When Gerardo Parra stepped into the batter’s box for the first time on Wednesday afternoon, everyone in the ballpark knew something was different with the 32-year-old outfielder.

His walk-up song, “Baby Shark”, drew the immediate attention of everyone in attendance. And it would not be the last thing that Washington Nationals fans remembered from Parra on the day.

“I wanted to put on something different,” Parra said postgame. “My [two-year-old daughter Aaliyah Victoria] loves that song. Before the game, I tried merengue, reggaeton, hip-hop, then I said, ‘You know what, I want to put in Baby Shark.’ I'm happy for that.”

After his performance against the Phillies in a 6-2 victory, “Baby Shark” should probably stick around as his walk-up song.

Parra was 0-for-23 when he came to the plate in the fourth inning. Before then his last hit came on June 1 against Cincinnati. Quickly Parra broke that hitless streak and doubled to plate the go-ahead run for the Nationals. He took a first-pitch slider from Zach Eflin and drove home Matt Adams, giving the Nats a 2-1 advantage.

Later in the game, he followed that up with a home run in the eighth inning as the Nats hit back-to-back jacks. It gave Parra, who started in the outfield for Victor Robles, his first multi-hit game since his June 1 appearance and his fourth such game on the Nationals roster.

But paired with his walk-up song, Parra’s sixth-inning assist to get out Bryce Harper is going to make him a fan favorite.  As Harper tried to go from first-to-third on a Scott Kingery single to shallow center, Parra scooped up the ball bare-handed to throw Harper out at third base. Without it there would have been no outs with runners on the corners and Patrick Corbin nearing the end of his start. Instead, the Nats cruised through the rest of the inning to preserve the lead. The Phillies appealed the play but to no avail.

“That's the only chance I had to get Harper,” Parra said. “I know he's an aggressive player and I tried to get everything perfect. Bare-handed, throw the ball as fast as I can. I think that changed the game.”

“It’s 'Mini-me,'” manager Davey Martinez, who played 16 years in the major leagues primarily as an outfielder, said about Parra after the game. “That’s what I tell him too. He came down [to the dugout after the play] and said, ‘You didn’t do that, you never did that.’ I go, ‘Too bad I ain’t got video of it…’ It was a tough play, barehanded, coming up firing. He’s really good, he’s a good outfielder.”  

With “Baby Shark” as his walk-up song Parra went 2-for-4 with a home run and a game-changing assist in a one-run ballgame. It looks like Parra has found his new walk-up song.

MORE NATIONALS NEWS: