Livan Hernandez got the best of Bryce Harper in their first matchup last night, as the 19-year-old rookie swung wildly at an incredibly slow curveball from the 37-year-old veteran and whiffed.
Harper’s eyes lit up when he saw the 65-mph pitch coming to the plate and you could tell he wanted to hit it approximately 1,000 feet. And when he got another chance later in the game, he did.
In their second matchup Hernandez tried to throw a 78-mph slider past Harper and it ended up deep in the right field seats for the phenom’s fourth career homer.
After the Nationals victory Harper shared his thought process for facing Hernandez with Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post:
I was just looking for something I could drive. Livo throws really slow. You’re going to have wait back and try to get something up that you can drive out of the park or drive up the middle or the left side. He left something up, and I got it.
And when asked about facing Hernandez in general, Harper amusingly replied:
It sucks. I don’t like facing guys like that. I’d rather face a hard lefty or something like that. I don’t like facing slow guys. It’s not very fun.
And yet with the homer Harper is now hitting .287 with a .376 on-base percentage and .525 slugging percentage through 27 games at age 19, including four homers and 13 total extra-base hits in 101 at-bats. To say he’s living up to the incredible hype would be an understatement.
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.
The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.
Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.
Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.
Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.
Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.