With Bryce Harper reportedly set to start serving his three-game suspension tonight, Washington’s Nationals will have to make do without their middle-of-the-order bat until Sunday’s series finale with the Oakland A’s.
There’s still one to play in AT&T Park tonight, however, and two with the Athletics after that, so Dusty Baker and the Nats will try to get by without Harper, who was actually in a mini-slump, going 0 for 11 with five Ks over the last three games, including his 0 for 5, three K game against the San Francisco Giants last night.
Trea Turner, on the other hand, is starting to pick it up at the plate after struggling out of the gate this season. Turner has hits in seven of his last ten games, and after last night’s 3 for 5 game in AT&T, he’s 13 for his last 43 (.302/.318/.442) with a double, triple, home run, walk, three Ks and three stolen bases over that stretch. He’s also reached base on four errors in the last ten games.
Fill-in skipper Chris Speier talked last weekend about Turner dealing with pressure after Adam Eaton went down with his season-ending knee injury.
“Trea is a quiet guy, but he’s got an intensity and he really, really wants to do well,” Speier explained.
“I think for a while he might have been putting a little pressure on him once Adam Eaton went down, to get on base and be productive, but we told him, ‘Just be you, you’re going to be fine,’ so like I said, he’s been really good.”
He’s also reportedly made some adjustments at the plate. GM Mike Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sport Junkies this morning that Nationals’ hitting coaches Rick Schu and Jacque Jones looked back at some film and suggested some changes.
“I talked with Rick Schu,” Rizzo said. “I’ve been with Rick Schu for years, we were together in Arizona, we’re together here, so we have a good relationship, a good rapport.
“We discuss a lot of things about a lot of hitters and with Jacque Jones, I saw those guys sitting around the video machine and we did a split screen of Trea over the last couple years and it was a good discussion that we had and we talked about things that Rick and Jacque were going to take to Trea to see if there’s anything that we could work on.”
Whatever they suggested (FP Santangelo mentioned Turner straightening up at the plate after he’d begun to crouch down some) it seems to be working over the last few games.
Will Turner keep it up while Harper’s out and continue to get on base in front of the Harper-less middle of the lineup over the next few games?
HERE’S THE NATIONALS’ HARPER-FREE LINEUP FOR THE FINALE IN AT&T:
#Nats vs #Giants 3 of 3 in A&T: Turner SS, Werth LF, Murphy 2B, Zimmerman 1B, Rendon 3B, Wieters C, Goodwin RF, Taylor CF, Scherzer P— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) May 31, 2017