Bryce Harper moved from the leadoff spot to No. 2 in the lineup for last night’s win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Washington’s 25-year-old slugger went 1 for 4 with a line drive two-base hit in the Nationals’ 3-1 win, leaving him 2 for his last 25 over a tough stretch.
Harper’s defense out in right field was pretty impressive though as he tracked down five line drives/fly balls over the course of the game, some of them fairly well-struck.
Davey Martinez noted that it was the second straight game in which Harper made an impact with his glove, after he cut off a two-out double in the tenth inning of Thursday’s game to hold the potential winning run at third base before Brandon Kintzler recorded the final out of the inning.
“The thing about Bryce right now, is — and I didn’t mention this yesterday,” Martinez said in Friday’s pregame press conference, “... but for me he made a big play for us in the outfield cutting that ball off before it got to the wall.
“If he don’t cut that ball off, we lose the game. So, I preach all the time about doing the little things, and he did that, he kept us in the ballgame.”
At the plate? Martinez was asked about the decision to move Harper out of the leadoff spot.
“I just want to see if Trea [Turner] can get on for Bryce,” he explained.
“And get him in-between Turner and [Anthony] Rendon. So, he’s swinging well though.
“Yesterday he hit a line drive, hit another line drive to left field that I thought was going to go a little further, but he’s playing well.”
After the second straight win over the D-backs, Martinez said he was happy with the offense overall, while giving Harper some more love.
“They’ve been swinging the bat well, the really have,” he told reporters. “So, just keep it going. I tell them keep it going, and like I say every day, I preach the little things. Again, Harper playing really good defense. He really did. I’m proud of them.
“They’re playing with heart, they’re playing with energy, and it’s been a lot of fun.”
Martinez and the Nationals try to keep the fun times going in the third of four with the D-backs this afternoon.