Bryce Harper was 0 for 4 Tuesday night, 0 for 8 in Colorado and just 3 for 19 with 7 K's on the current road trip when he reached first safely in his fifth and final at bat last night against the Rockies to become the last Washington Nationals' starting position player to collect a hit in the Nats' 21-hit offensive explosion in Coors Field. "[Harper's] been struggling as bad as I've ever seen him struggle," Nationals' manager Davey Johnson said after the game, "He's a gamer and he's going harder and harder and harder... and then he gets a little infield hit, that was good." With the hit in the second game of the Nationals' four-game set with the Rockies, Harper's now got a .278/.357/.480 line with 11 doubles, four triples, seven home runs, seven stolen bases in ten attempts, 24 walks and 44 K's in 224 plate appearances.
The were reports on Tuesday that the 19-year-old outfielder is receiving treatment for a back issue that's bothered him since he made a diving attempt on a fly to short right in Nats Park a few weeks back. As Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore noted in his article on the back issues, however, "... pretty much every player around the league in late June," is dealing with some problem, so it's really just another way in which the preternaturally-gifted hitter is becoming like the rest of the players he dreamed of playing against when he left high school early to begin his path to the majors as soon as possible. Harper arrived with a lot of hype, perhaps more than any player before him (or since Stephen Strasburg at least), and he heard some criticism on the way up, but now that he's playing every day and you see what he's made of, "Has Bryce Harper won over his critics?" CSNWashington.com's Chase Hughes, the District Sports Page's Dave Nichols and I discuss Harper's ascent in the last Nats Lunchbox we filmed last weekend:
BTW: I was speaking extemporaneously in the video and thought afterwards I'd misspoken about the events in Fenway Park. It was the first game of the Nats' trip to Boston in which Harper seemed to win over the fans that I was referring to, not the whole series, and as you'll see below, it was either Nats fans in Fenway or swayed Red Sox fans cheering for Harper after he hit one out: