Bryce Harper didn’t have an official at-bat tonight, but he still made a major impact in the Nationals’ 15-1 blowout victory over the Braves.
Harper walked in all four of his plate appearances and scored four runs. One of the walks came with the bases loaded, so he was also credited with an RBI. This is actually the second time this season that Harper has walked four times and scored four runs in the same game. He also pulled it off on August 18 against the Rockies. According to ESPN Sports & Info, Harper the first player to do it twice in the same season since Dom DiMaggio in 1950.
Perhaps more amazingly, Harper didn’t swing at any of the 20 pitches he saw tonight. According to ESPN Sports & Info, that’s the second-most pitches without a swing in a game over the past 10 seasons. Juan Uribe saw 21 pitches without a swing in a game in 2010.
Harper is batting .331/.464/.627 with 31 home runs and 79 RBI in 126 games this season. He leads the National League in batting average and leads the majors in on-base percentage and OPS. Oh, and he’s 22 years old.
Marcus Stroman was originally thought to be lost for the season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during a routine fielding drill in early March, but he has made amazing progress in his rehab (even finishing his degree at Duke University along the way) and there’s now a good chance he’ll be pitching for the Blue Jays this month.
Stroman made his first minor league rehab start Wednesday night with Class A Lansing and he showed no signs of rust at all, tossing 4 2/3 innings of no-hit ball. He walked one batter and struck out seven while throwing 44 out of 69 pitches for strikes. Not bad. Not bad at all.
The plan calls for Stroman to throw a bullpen session Friday before making another rehab start with Triple-A Buffalo on Monday. He’s slated to rejoin the Blue Jays from there, likely as a member of the starting rotation, which would be quite a boost for a team which has been rolling since late July. According to Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet.ca, Stroman is understandably amped up at the propsect of playoff baseball.
“It just shows that all the hard work paid off. Nobody puts higher expectations on me than myself; and no one has more confidence in me than myself,” Stroman said. “I’m more motivated and more hungry now than I’ve ever been. And I’m ready to get back to the big leagues and contribute to this unbelievable team and to get to the playoffs. I’m ready to do something special.
Stroman, 24, posted a 3.65 ERA and 111/28 K/BB ratio in 130 2/3 innings over 20 starts and six relief appearances as a rookie last season.
Ben Lindbergh of Grantland wrote an excellent piece about the science behind Stroman’s rehab. It’s well worth checking out.
Troubling development here for the Tigers, as shortstop Jose Iglesias was forced to exit Thursday’s game against the Royals in the third inning when he was hit in the hand while trying to drop down a bunt.
Iglesias appeared to take the ball off a finger on his right hand. He immediately crouched to the ground and was in a tremendous amount of pain before being helped off the field. You can watch the play here.
After missing all of last season with stress fractures in both of his legs, the slick-fielding Iglesias has managed to stay healthy this year while batting .300/.347/.370 with two home runs, 23 RBI, and 11 stolen bases over 120 games. Unfortunately, it looks like his season could be over prematurely.