Harper has already garnered 2.3 million votes, which is fifth-best total in the major leagues. Kansas City’s Salvador Perez leads the way with 2.68 million votes, followed by Lorenzo Cain at 2.5 million. Online voting is 100 percent ahead of the trend set at this time last year.
Harper gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning on a single off of knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Jordan Zimmermann, the winning pitcher, scored the run. The Nationals went on to win Game 1 over the Blue Jays. It was the Nationals’ fifth shutout win of the season.
Zimmermann said he was not surprised that Harper already has that many votes.
“I think he got that before the season,” Zimmermann said. “He’s playing great right now. I’m happy he’s on our team. He’s a tough out for any pitcher. It’s fun to watch.”
Joining Harper so far in the outfield are the Cardinals’ Matt Holliday and the Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton.
Yunel Escobar is currently running fifth in fan voting for the National League at second base, his position coming out of spring training. Escobar has tallied more than 502,000 votes.
* Nationals top prospect right-hander Lucas Giolito had his “best start of the season” monday night, according to high Single-A Potomac play-by-play announcer Bryan Holland.
Giolito fired five scoreless innings, allowing only two hits. He struck out nine and walked two. Myrtle Beach got a base hit from Mark Zagunis to lead off the game, and Carlos Penalver netted an infield single in the third. That was it.
The game was suspended in the bottom of the 10th inning tied at 3-3, to be resumed today, weather-permitting.
“(Giolito) commanded all three pitches, and most impressive inning was his fourth inning last night,” Holland said via text. “He walked two guys to start the inning on close pitches, then fans three in a row, all swinging. Total dominance.”
Giolito faced only three hitters over the minimum, 18 batters in five frames, and now has 38 strikeouts in five starts over 27 1/3 innings.