That was a catastrophe, wasn’t it?
The good news: Bryce Harper always starts hot. He will not continue playing this way (or maybe he will, and he’ll win an MVP, in which case, good for him for deviating from his career mean).
The bad news: everything—literally everything—about last night was bad for the Nationals.
The bullpen is in shambles. Trea Turner is out and we’re stuck with Wilmer Difo. Matt Adams is probably hurt.
So, here’s what’s new on N street:
The souring of a star: On fate, fairy tales and what must be the Nats’ next act (The Athletic)
The Nationals are wildly different now than they would be if they had retained Harper, who was frustrating, annoying, and mind-bogglingly good all at once. Eventually, the drama of this will go away, and the spotlight will shine on what Bryce left behind.
Bryce Harper vs. Max Scherzer makes early April feel almost like October - The Washington Post
On the first night, a few things were clear: Nats fans have no intention of forgiving Bryce, and this is going to be a really fun rivalry to watch.
Nationals fans get their boos in, but Bryce Harper has the last word (WaPo)
They expected a mixed reaction, a smattering of cheers and boos. For whatever reason, it came out the latter in a deafening fashion. Harper may have accomplished what he wanted to do for the last seven years by going (perhaps not by choice) to Philly: adding an edge to a Nationals fanbase that always lacked one.
Scherzer wins early battles, Harper gets last laugh in blowout (MASN)
“I didn’t know what it was going to be like,” Harper said. “Heard the boos. Kind of just remembered I have 45,000 people in the city of Philadelphia, and more that were screaming at their TV, cheering.”
No timetable for Trea Turner's return from broken index finger (MASN)
Trea is out of the lineup for a long stint with what he hoped was a dislocation but knew in his heart was another hand injury. He was also pretty displeased with Zach Eflin.
Bryce Harper booed in return to Nationals Park, still homers (WaPo)
Harper was booed through his tribute video. Then he was booed through his first plate appearance. Then his second. (TRAITOR, we say!) And then he started hitting. (Also, people wore their Jonathan Papelbon jerseys today, which is sorta funny — and isn't 'boo' kind of a funny word, too?)
Bryce Harper comes back with a vengeance, helping the Phillies beat the Nationals in return (WaPo)
Nationals Park slowly became Citizens Bank Park South last night, with the Phillies fans in right cheering "We've got Harper!" over and over. That on top of two injuries and a vicious Harper homer made the day rather unpalatable.
Booed heavily in DC, Bryce gets last laugh (MLB.com)
The Phillies came to town, bringing a playoff atmosphere with them, and a playoff-style result to boot. Max Scherzer, for what it's worth, was happy to compete against him.
Howie Kendrick, Michael Taylor close to returning (MLB.com)
Howie Kendrick is working out in Washington, while Michael A. will head to Harrisburg on Friday to start getting some reps, meaning the reinforcements are coming just in time.
Trea Turner injured on bunt (MLB.com)
“I couldn’t move it,” Turner said. “I've never had anything dislocated, so I figured that’s what it was. I think it might have been a combination of that. Also, with a break, I’m not really sure, but I couldn’t move it, so I knew something wasn’t good.”
Bryce Harper's epic bat flip vs Nationals has Twitter in a frenzy (SI.com)
To be fair, it was a pretty nice bat flip.
Booed early, Harper has last word with late HR (ESPN)
"I feel like it's a little different coming back here and getting booed," Harper said after Philadelphia's 8-2 win. "But for me, it's exactly like going to another ballpark and facing somebody that's lights out, electric, like Max, or going to New York and getting booed. It's the same thing for me. So, I got out there and try to play my game and understand I have teammates in that dugout that are going to pull for me every single day.
Kendrick returns to clubhouse, Taylor heading to Harrisburg for rehab (MASN)
The Nats got their first look in a while at Howie Kendrick, and he may not even need a rehab assignment, though it would help him get up to speed.
Bryce Harper loves Silver Diner. Silver Diner knows. (WaPo)
Bryce Harper has always liked Silver Diner, which is a chain that he can access near Philly.
Bryce Harper farewell to Nats fans: ‘You will always hold a special place in my heart’ (WaPo)
Harper, despite refusing to answer questions about his future for his entire tenure as a National in hopes of the Bronx or Wrigleyville, feigned shock that he was walking into Nats Park as an opposing player.
Rosenthal: Six managers on the hot seat this season (The Athletic)
According to Ken Rosenthal, Nats players actually like Martinez, but his bullpen management continues to raise questions, and his easygoingness may do him in.