Prior to this afternoon’s game, Nationals manager Davey Johnson talked about how Bryce Harper has started to glide when chasing down balls in the outfield, instead of taking short, choppy steps like he did when he first moved to the outfield.
We’ve seen a whole lot of that gliding from Harper through three innings today.
Harper tracked down a deep fly ball off the bat of Rickie Weeks to end the top of the third, a fly which sailed straight over his head. He used his impressive speed to catch up to the ball, gave a subtle shoulder turn to make sure he had a good view as it descended and then made a smooth over-the-shoulder grab on the edge of the track.
In the bottom of the third, Harper followed a Jayson Werth double by dropping a double of his own down the left-field line. Werth came around to score, and Harper showed off the gliding as he scooted into second.
One batter later, Harper took a lead off second and danced a little too far off the bag on Wily Peralta’s pitch to Ryan Zimmerman. Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado threw down behind Harper, trying to pick him off, so Harper just took off for third base.
He slid in with his 14th stolen base of the season.
It’s amazing how many ways this guy impacts a game.
The Nats lead 3-0 after putting up a three-spot in the third. Adam LaRoche doubled in Harper, giving the first baseman 97 RBIs on the season, and LaRoche came in to score on a Jean Segura throwing error.
Gio Gonzalez is through four innings, having allowed just two runs. He’s struck out three and has looked really sharp, for the most part.
Update: The Nats are absolutely teeing off on Brewers pitching today. That includes old buddy Livan Hernandez, who surrendered two three-run homers in the fourth inning alone.
Zimmerman crushed a meatball on the inner-half way out to left for his 23rd home run of the season, and three batters later, Ian Desmond took Hernandez out to right-center for his 24th longball of the year.
It’s 9-0 Nationals, and it’s sure looking like Gonzalez will lock up his 20th win of the season.