Bryce Harper went 6 for 17 with four home runs in four games after the 25-year-old slugger moved to the top spot in the Washington Nationals’ lineup, but he’s cooled off considerably, at least in terms of results. Harper’s hit some balls hard over the last few games, but he’ll go into the series finale in San Diego 0 for his last 19.
On the season, Harper, a potential free agent-to-be next winter (unless he and the Nationals somehow work out an extension beforehand), has a .230/.410/.541 line, with two doubles, a team-leading 12 HRs, 27 walks, and 40 Ks in 166 PAs, over which he’s been worth 1.0 fWAR.
Davey Martinez, who made the decision to move Harper to the leadoff spot after he’d been walked over and over again in the first month-plus, talked after last night’s 4-0 win over the Padres about what he’s seen from his right fielder over the last few games.
“He’s hit the ball incredibly hard over the last few days, he really has,” Martinez explained.
“I talked to him after the game. He’s good. He knows. And he said he feels fine. So I told him, I said, ‘Hey, tomorrow is a different day, just keep squaring balls up, they’re not going to catch them all,’ and he knows that, and he knows how bad we need him. I mean he’s a huge part of our team and our offense. So he gets it.”
Michael A. Taylor is currently in a similar stretch, 0 for 19 over the last seven games with three walks, and eight strikeouts.
Martinez said he talked to his 27-year-old center fielder about his struggles as well.
“He’s taking his walks, which is good,” Martinez told reporters before last night’s game.
“And I talked a little bit today about him and just staying in the middle of the field, and just putting the ball in play, especially with two strikes. Not asking him to hit home runs, just move the ball and put the ball in play. I like Michael, and he’s going to be good. He’s going to be really good, so you know, once it clicks, as you know he’s very streaky, and we can ride him for a month.”
Taylor has a .184/.261/.312 line, seven doubles, and three home runs in 37 games and 139 PAs, over which he’s been worth 0.2 fWAR.
Taylor is back in the lineup tonight for the third of three with the Padres in Petco, leading off tonight, while Harper is getting a night off vs lefty Joey Lucchesi.