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.
Twins third baseman Miguel Sano has been suspended one game for his role in Saturday’s altercation with the Tigers, Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. Sano will appeal his suspension, so he’ll be eligible to play until that is resolved.
On Saturday, Tigers outfielder JaCoby Jones was hit in the face by Twins pitcher Justin Haley. The Tigers’ Matt Boyd threw behind Sano when he came to the plate in the fifth inning, seemingly exacting revenge. Sano took exception, catcher James McCann pushed his glove into Sano’s face, and the benches emptied. Both Boyd and Sano were ejected from the game.
Sano has hit well in the early going, batting .241/.413/.569 with four home runs and 14 RBI with an MLB-best 17 walks in 75 plate appearances. Losing Sano for only one game won’t be the biggest deal for the Twins. Eduardo Escobar would get the start at third base to fill in for Sano if he loses his appeal.
Boyd was fined an undisclosed amount and not suspended, per MLB.com’s Jason Beck.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes has been suspended four games and fined an undisclosed amount for throwing at Orioles third baseman Manny Machado on Sunday. Barnes was exacting revenge for Machado’s slide which injured second baseman Dustin Pedroia on Friday, and was ejected immediately after throwing the pitch at Machado.
Barnes is appealing his suspension, so he will be able to participate in games until the issue is resolved. The 26-year-old right-hander has a 3.60 ERA and an 11/6 K/BB ratio in 10 innings so far this season.
The suspension is rather light considering Barnes’ intent. Barnes missed, thankfully, as he hit Machado’s bat rather than his helmet. Had he hit his intended target, though, baseball might’ve been out one superstar third baseman. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports wrote today that Major League Baseball needs to beef up its punishment for players attempting to injure other players. And he’s totally right about that. The punishment is neither enough to deter players from attempting to injure their peers, nor is it enough for teams to deter their own players from doing so.