Bryce Harper missed all of June with bursitis in his left knee and required treatment for the joint earlier this week. Now the situation has worsened further.
According to Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington, Harper is not in the Nationals’ starting lineup for Game 2 of Friday’s day-night doubleheader with the Mets because he aggravated his left knee while diving for a ball in the outfield in Game 1. It wasn’t a serious aggravation, but it’s worrisome nonetheless for a Washington team that carries a disappointing 49-54 record into the nightcap at Nationals Park.
Steve Lombardozzi will start in left field and bat seventh.
Harper is hitting .271/.373/.520 with 14 home runs and 31 RBI in 65 games this season. The 20-year-old phenom slugged a walkoff home run in the Nats’ 9-7 win over the Pirates on Thursday afternoon.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: