Bryce Harper went 17 for 29 (.586/.684/1.103) with six doubles and three home runs over the first nine games of Washington’s ten-game road trip through Atlanta, New York and Colorado and he homered in the finale of the four-game set in Coors Field.
So is Dusty Baker concerned about the results from Harper in the last few games?
“Nobody can stay hot all the time,” Baker said after the Nats’ 5-3 loss on Saturday.
“Bryce is fine. Just a couple days, the last day in Colorado, he hit a homer, but he wasn’t real sharp and he’s fouling off pitches that ordinarily he would have hit.
“That puts him in a two-strike situation.”
Ryan Zimmerman is still swinging a hot bat though, going 20 for 41 (.488/.533/1.146) with three doubles and eight home runs over his last eleven games and hits in each of his last seven, leaving him with a .410/.456/.892 line, seven doubles and 11 homers in 90 plate appearances this season.
Even if he had high expectations, did Baker expect this sort of production out of his first baseman?
“I really didn’t have any expectations, really,” Baker said, “because he couldn’t be as bad as he was last year. Like I said, he was injured last year, he worked hard this winter. He had a full Spring Training where last year he didn’t. I had to really monitor his playing time and his at bats, and so I don’t have any expectations, I just want him to keep on rolling.”
And the Michael A. Taylor in center experiment?
Before the news leaked that Adam Eaton is reportedly out for the season with a torn ACL in his left leg, Baker talked about Taylor getting the first shot in center, but said that the 26-year-old outfielder would get “one more opportunity or two” to claim the job before he explored other options, while noting that Taylor would get a shot to get his timing and there are some tough pitchers ahead for the Nationals in the next few games.
So, how did he assess Taylor’s 3 for 5 game in Saturday’s loss?
“I’m not really going to evaluate him every day, because that’s not fair,” Baker said, “so we evaluate him over a period of time.
“He got three hits, and we only got [seven], I think, so for today’s performance he had a good day, he had a very good day.”
All three are back in the lineup for this afternoon’s finale with the Mets.
UPDATED: Here’s the NEW Nationals’ lineup for Game 3 of 3 with New York in D.C.: