Bryce Harper’s three-hit game last night left him 6 for 24 (.250/.367/.500) on the homestand with all six of the hits doubles. Three of the doubles came in series finale with the Phillies, in his final three at bats, after he struck out in each of his first two plate appearances.
“He’s had some good at bats the last few days,” Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez told reporters after the come-from-behind, 8-6 win over Philadelphia.
“So for him to get rewarded with a few hits, was awesome, perfect,” Martinez said, “so come back tomorrow, get on this flight, everybody’s happy, go to Tampa, and play again.”
The first of the three two-base hits was a one-out double to left-center field, and the second an RBI double to right an inning later, as he drove in a run to get the Nationals within two of the Phillies, 6-4, before he scored to make it a one-run game.
Martinez was asked about his right fielder’s emotional reaction to the third of Harper’s three two-base hits, which sent Brian Goodwin around to third one out after Goodwin’s leadoff walk in a pinch hit appearance. Harper pumped his fist and hollered toward’s the Nationals’ dugout after sliding in safely on the smoked ground ball to right.
“For me, and I’ve said this before, he’s been totally engaged, I mean, he really has, in the clubhouse, and with us, he’s all-in,” Martinez said.
“I can’t say enough about him. His attitude’s been good, but I think today, being rewarded, and us playing the way we played, that’s what you saw from him.
“Yeah, some frustration cause he wasn’t getting hits and stuff, not getting pitched to, and it felt good, it was gratifying.”
What was different in the final three at bats, after the back-to-back Ks to start the game?
“Like I’ve said, he’s been working diligently on swinging at strikes, and that’s the biggest thing, they haven’t really pitched to him and he got the ball in the zone today, and when he hit that ball to left-center field, I turned around and said, ‘That should get him going right there,’ because that’s him, when he’s going really good, that’s what he should be doing.”
“I’ve said it every day, man, I think getting pitches over the plate, that’s huge,” Harper told reporters. “Didn’t get any pitches over the plate the first at bat, maybe one or two, and I chased, and chased again the second at bat. My swing feels great, I just got to get pitches over the plate that I can drive.”
Coming up big like he did, after struggling for weeks, was particularly satisfying, since he helped avoid a third straight loss in the series with the Nationals’ NL East rivals.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Harper continued. “That’s a big win for us. We don’t want to get swept right there. Momentum going into Tampa, and then going into Philly as well again.”
The win left the Nationals 3.0 games back in the NL East.
“You never want to lose three straight,” Harper added at another point in his post game interview.
“Phillies are a great team, they’re going to be good all year long, and Atlanta as well. So just got to keep playing ball, keep doing out thing, and see where we’re at.”