UPDATE: Per Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, said that his client received 11 stitches but did not suffer a concussion. He also jammed his shoulder and will sent for an X-ray. It’s not clear when he’ll play next, but it sounds like relatively good news under the circumstances. We should know more during the day on Tuesday.
12:10 AM: Bryce Harper left tonight’s game against the Dodgers in the bottom of the fifth inning after he crashed face-first into the right field wall at Dodger Stadium.
Harper suffered the injury when he was chasing after a ball off the bat of A.J. Ellis. He appeared to lose track of where he was before he ran into the fence at full-speed. The particular area he crashed into is not padded, so it made for a pretty scary impact.
Harper was on the ground for a couple of moments before he got to his feet and walked off the field under his own power, but he appeared dazed and had a cut on his chin and/or neck. The Nationals will undoubtedly send him for tests for a possible concussion.
You can watch video of the play below:
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.