Nationals

Quick Links

Rizzo stands up for Harper after fan comment

rizzoharper090815.png

Rizzo stands up for Harper after fan comment

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo defended Bryce Harper one day after his young star criticized fans for leaving a key game against the Mets early, attributing Harper's comments to emotions running high after a difficult loss.

"Bryce is a passionate player who wears his heart on his sleeve," Rizzo said Tuesday afternoon. "There's nobody on this team that loves the fan base of Washington, D.C. more than Harp. There's nobody that loves this city more than Harp. He stated it when we were in New York. He's stated it multiple times throughout the season, how much he appreciates and admires the fan base here. You're talking about a player after a tough loss with some frustration. But he's a guy who loves this city."

Speaking after Monday's loss, in which a 5-3 lead in the fifth inning turned into an 8-5 deficit in the seventh, Harper was asked what he thought of the atmosphere at Nationals Park, which for most of the afternoon was electric.

"I mean, they left in the seventh," Harper said. "That's pretty brutal. I don't know, whatever."

Large sections of the right-field stands, bathed in direct sunlight all afternoon, did empty out during the final innings, though the rest of the park remained full from the original crowd of 34,210.

Harper has taken plenty of heat from fans in the 24 hours since, but Rizzo attributed the original comments to a heat-of-the-moment thing.

"It was after a tough loss," the GM said. "And he's a guy who wears his emotions on his sleeve and a guy that doesn't give you cookie-cutter answers and a person who speaks from his heart."

Rizzo spoke highly of Nationals fans as a whole.

"I can't say more about the fan base," he said. "I love the fan base. I think it’s a rabid, intelligent, high baseball-IQ fan base, and they're the ones that urge us on and really give us the energy to keep things rolling."

RELATED: Ross moving to bullpen, Roark will start in place

Quick Links

Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

usatsi_10847206.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.

Quick Links

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

screen_shot_2018-05-21_at_7.52.30_pm.png
@MLB

Juan Soto crushes a homer in the first at-bat of his first-ever start

Juan Soto, the highly-regarded 19-year-old Nationals' prospect, got his first major league start of his career tonight. 

How did it go, you ask? Surely it would take Soto - who was in Single-A less than two weeks ago - some time to adjust? 

What were you doing at 19??

2018 MLB POWER RANKINGS AND OTHER NATS NEWS:

- Rankings Update: Where does your team fall?
- Cause For Concern?: How worried should Nats fans be?
- Very Persuasive: How Rizzo convinced Reynolds to come to D.C.