Bryce Harper thought he drew a 3-2 walk in the seventh inning at Double-A last night, but as he headed to first base home plate umpire Max Guyll called him out on strikes and the 18-year-old Nationals uber-prospect angrily slammed his helmet down in disgust.
Guyll immediately ejected him from the game, at which point Harper got in the umpire’s face, screaming and pointing and digging his spikes into the dirt to show where he believed the pitch crossed outside the strike zone.
Chris Knight of the Harrisburg Patriot-News snapped the fantastic face-to-face action photo you see displayed to the left and CSNWashington.com has video that shows the entire incident unfold:
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Obviously this wouldn’t be any kind of story if Harper wasn’t involved, as plenty of minor leaguers are ejected in similar fashions every week, but it does play into some of the negative aspects of his reputation and the incident making headlines is part of the increased attention that comes with being a former No. 1 overall pick and the top prospect in baseball at age 18. Plus, he did kind of freak out.
For more details, check out the game story from the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.
Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.
If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.
Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.
Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.
Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.