Pregame thoughts on Harper, Gonzalez, Stammen

Those who are getting after Bryce Harper and calling his bat accident last night immature need to relax, in my opinion.

Yeah, Harper's 19 and still has some growing up to do. But this was a legitimate bit of misfortune and shouldn't be overanalyzed.

You see players spike their batting helmets and toss bats to the ground after striking out all the time. I bet there have been countless times this season when a Nationals player has gone into the tunnel and thrown something after a poor at-bat, and what happened to Harper probably could have happened to any one of them.

No question - Harper will need to learn to deal with the frustration that comes with failure at the major league level. He hasn't been unsuccessful much in his career, but the big leagues are a different animal. Last night won't be the last time Harper goes 0-for-5 in his career; we can put money on that.

The injury was unfortunate, but Harper's frustration just shows, yet again, how much he cares about the game and wants to succeed. And that's not a negative, in my view.

Did you know that Gio Gonzalez still has yet to allow a home run this season?

He's had seven starts, worked 41 2/3 innings, and has not given up a longball.

Of course, I just jinxed him. Whoever's atop the Pirates' batting order Wednesday - when Gonzalez makes his next start - is definitely going yard to lead off the game.

No doubt about it.

Meanwhile, Craig Stammen, a native of Versailles, Ohio, and offseason resident of Cincinnati, clearly loves pitching against his hometown team

After his 2 1/3 innings last night, Stammen has now worked 6 1/3 innings against the Reds this season, and has gone 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA and 12 strikeouts to just one walk.

Yeah, that'll do.

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