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Nationals' Sunday afternoon lineup: Bryce Harper sits vs Cole Hamels in series finale with Phillies

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Nationals' slugger Bryce Harper gets a day off this afternoon as the Nats take on the Phillies in the series finale in the nation's capital. It's the second time in a row Matt Williams has taken the opportunity to rest Harper vs Cole Hamels.

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Jonathan Ernst

For the second time in two meetings, Washington Nationals' outfielder Bryce Harper is getting a rest with left-hander Cole Hamels on the hill in this afternoon's series finale in the nation's capital.

Harper, 21, has a .302/.351/.453 line against left-handers this season, in an admittedly small sample of 57 plate appearances, and a .240/.317/.387 line against lefties in 487 PAs total 59 games inton his third major league campaign, but in spite of his recent run of success at the plate, which has seen the 2010 no.1 overall pick put up a .300/.407/.400 line over his last 15 games and 59 PAs, he's getting another break in the third game of three with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Head-to-head in their respective careers, Harper is 8 for 25, .320/.393/.360 vs Hamels.

The Phillies' 30-year-old southpaw has held left-handed hitters to a combined .211/.291/.289 line so far in 2014.

Getting the start in left field for the Nationals, is Scott Hairston, who does, of course, have good numbers against Philadelphia's 2002 1st Round pick.

In 44 career plate appearances, Hairston is 16 for 41 (.390/.432/.878) with five doubles and five home runs off of Hamels, and Hairston has crushed Phillies' pitching as a whole, with a .306/.344/.633 line, 12 doubles and 12 HRs in 59 games and 158 plate appearances against the Nats' NL East rivals in his 11-year career.

It's not just against Hamels that Harper has been sitting recently, of course.

Nats' skipper Matt Williams took an opportunity to rest the left-handed hitting outfielder when the Nationals faced Colorado Rockies' lefty Franklin Morales during the recent road trip to Coors Field.

Harper told reporters, including the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore that he understood the decision.

"'I’m totally fine with it,'" he said. "'Of course, I’m a guy that likes to play. I always try to battle my way into the lineup. But I totally understand it.'"

Williams told reporters then that though he wasn't going to sit Harper against every left-hander they faced, he didn't think the third-year major leaguer was seeing left-handers particular well at that point, and Harper did, in fact, start the next two games of that series with the Rockies against left-handers Yohan Flande and Jorge De La Rosa.

• Here's the Nationals' lineup for the series finale with the Phillies:

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