Bryce Harper’s 25th home run of the season traveled 467 feet to center field in Chase Field. Harper got all of a 3-2 curve from Arizona Diamondbacks’ lefty Anthony Banda, but wasn’t all that interested in talking about the fact that it came on a dialed back swing, where he eliminates his stride.
“I don’t really think about it,” Harper said when asked about his dialed back approach.
“Really just trying to go up there and get a good pitch and drive it, and that worked.”
But seriously, does eliminating the stride help in two-strike counts?
Harper has put up a .283/.364/.555 line in two-strike counts so far this season, and, the Nationals’ PR team noted on Twitter, 12 of Harper's 25 homers this season have come on in two strikes counts, tied for the most in the majors with the Milwaukee Brewers’ Eric Thames.
Last night, Bryce Harper CRUSHED his 25th HR of the season, which traveled a bajillion feet*— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 23, 2017
*Distance approximate pic.twitter.com/lZ9evw51iY
“Really not even thinking about it,” Harper said, “not even trying to think about it at all. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t, sometimes I swing, sometimes I miss, and it’s part of the game.”
Dusty Baker was, however, willing to offer his thoughts on why Harper’s dialed back approach is beneficial at times.
“It keeps your head still more than anything,” Baker explained, “but I mean that’s more advantageous against left-handers that are apt to throw him breaking balls than it is against right-handers. And so it’s pretty good, hitting almost .340 when you’re still tinkering and figuring it out, and that’s what’s encouraging is the fact that he’s trying ways to try to get better.”
Smh that ball only had two days until retirement. pic.twitter.com/SkgamZNcXV— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) July 23, 2017
After Harper’s 2 for 5 night at the plate in last night’s win, the 24-year-old right fielder has a .338/.444/.641 line on the season with 24 doubles and 25 home runs in 88 games and 399 plate appearances.
Harper takes the field in Chase Field this afternoon with a .262/.377/.548 career line in the D-Backs’ home. He said last night that he likes hitting in Arizona, though not quite as much as he likes hitting in some other parks.
“Yeah, I enjoy playing at every park,” Harper said. “I’m in the show, so I’m able to live my dream every single day and play baseball. Not quite like Philly, but it’s still a good park to hit in.”