OK, Bryce Harper is red-hot anywhere he hits. But at Nationals Park, Harper is really crushing the ball.
Harper smoked an opposite-field, two-run shot in the first inning off Braves starter Julio Teheran, giving the Nats an early 2-0 lead over their division rivals.
The homer came on a 2-1 fastball, and it left the yard in a hurry.
It’s Harper’s fifth homer of the season. The Nats have played just 10 games. Decent homer-to-game ratio, I guess.
Teheran’s pitch wasn’t a bad one; he delivered a 93-mph fastball on the black, away from Harper. The location was pretty decent. Harper just reached out and smoked the ball through the wind into the bleachers.
In seven games at home this season, Harper is now 13-for-24 (.542) with four home runs and seven RBIs.
He’s also now just the second player 20 years of age or younger in major league history to hit five home runs in his team’s first 10 games. Miguel Cabrera was the first.
Pretty good company.
Update: I hope third base coach Trent Jewett does some serious arm stretching before each game. The force and frequency with which he waves runners home might lead to major shoulder injuries if Jewett doesn’t loosen that arm up a bit.
Jewett has been aggressive with his sends early this season, and that was the case in the second inning tonight, as he waved catcher Kurt Suzuki around third on Denard Span’s single to shallow left field. The ball dropped in front of Justin Upton, and the left fielder’s throw home wasn’t in time to cut down Suzuki, who showed off some impressive wheels there.
Not only did Jewett’s decision to send Suzuki score a run, it also allowed Span to move to second on Upton’s throw home.
Just two pitches after Span’s RBI single, Jayson Werth delivered one of his own, bringing Span in.
It’s 4-0 Nats after just two innings.