Bryce Harper played in the first 37 games this season before finally sitting out of last night’s series finale with San Diego’s Padres, with Washington Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez explaining that he saw an opportunity to give the 25-year-old outfielder a rest with a sort-of-awkward lefty on the mound in Joey Lucchesi.
“When you want to give Harper a day off, you tend to want to give him [one] against a lefty, not a righty, and today was a perfect opportunity,” Martinez said after what ended up a 2-1 loss.
“Same thing with Matt Adams,” he added after giving the red-hot slugger a break as well.
“He’s been playing a lot. Those guys, when they’re swinging the bats really well, your lineup is really good either left or right, and they are swinging the bats really well, but we’ve got guys that can fill in and do the job.”
Ryan Zimmerman was back in the lineup last night, for the second straight game after he’d missed a few with a bruised/stiff side, and he’s quietly put together a five-game hit streak, going 7 for 17 with a home run, two walks, and two Ks over that stretch, which continued in the finale with the Padres which saw Zimmerman go 2 for 3 with a walk.
Going back to the start of the last road trip, Zimmerman is 19 for 66 (.288/.338/.545) with three doubles and four home runs in 17 games and 71 PAs.
“He’s playing well and it’s good to have him back,” Martinez said when asked about what he has seen from the first baseman over the last few.
Zimmerman is getting a night off, but Harper, and Adams are back in against the Arizona Diamondbacks’ right-hander Zack Greinke in the series opener in Chase Field.