After bat mishap, Bryce Harper is in the starting lineup tonight

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Nationals manager Davey Johnson indicated last night that Bryce Harper could get a day or two off after he hit himself in the head with his own bat and required 10 stitches above his left eye, but Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post passes along word that the rookie outfielder is in tonight’s lineup.

While Harper has a nasty welt and an embarrassing story to tell, he didn’t feel dazed after the incident and was cleared by a team doctor. This probably isn’t the last time his emotions will get the best of him. As a 19-year-old in the big leagues, failure and frustration is expected. But hopefully he has learned his lesson. Nationals manager Davey Johnson is a pretty good tutor for the assignment.

Harper went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts last night and is hitting .233/.333/.373 with six doubles, three RBI, a stolen base and a .705 OPS over his first 51 plate appearances in the big leagues.

Noah Syndergaard scratched with a “tired arm”

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Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.

Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.

The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.