Blinded by the light, Nationals outfielders must figure out how to block out the sun

It was an uneven defensive performance for the Nationals Sunday, as they committed two errors and lost two fly balls in the sun in a 6-2 loss to Milwaukee.

Outfielders Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth each lost fly balls in the sun. The fly balls dropped to the ground in front of them for base hits.

Harper said it was tough to see the ball as the afternoon sun moved through the sky.

“You can’t catch what you can’t see,” Harper said. “Nothing you can do about it. The sun monster got me and there is nothing you can do.

“When it is right down the middle of the sun it is kind of hard. You try to get left or right, try to get below it. I got below the second one and caught it. Nothing you can do, it just happens.”

Harper said this happened against the Marlins, too, and as the game progressed, the view from center field changes as the sun moves through the sky.

“Once 4:05 (p.m.) comes around, you got shadows at the plate, you got the left field stands and you got the sun monster behind,” Harper said. “It is something that happens. You got to play with it. Hopefully, it doesn’t happen anymore.”

Manager Davey Johnson said it was difficult for his outfielders to see the baseball in the sun as they game progressed. He even considered shifting his outfield around, but then Werth dropped a ball, too.

“It is a tough sun, no doubt about it. It is just one of those days,” Johnson said. “I was thinking about moving Werth over there, I guess it didn’t matter.”

Johnson said to see Harper have trouble was difficult, but then when Werth could not catch a fly ball because of the sun, he knew there was a major problem.

“When Jayson misses one in the sun, he is pretty good out there,” Johnson said. “He knows how to use the glove to block out the sun to the last minute and then snatch it, but it was a tough day.”

Johnson might consider early practice with a few afternoon games remaining on the schedule, plus the possibility of sunny games during the day in the postseason.

“We may come out early and shag some fly balls,” Johnson said. “It seems to be around 2:00 or 3:00 o’clock when they are having trouble. (Third base coach) Bo Porter was starting to play them around so they could get a better angle on the sun, but (the Brewers) started to hit where we weren’t playing. As far as strategy, nothing worked today.”

blog comments powered by Disqus