Bryce Harper batted seventh in the Nationals’ lineup for each of his first four games, but manager Davey Johnson has decided to promote the 19-year-old to the No. 3 spot tonight.
That’s where the best hitter on the team generally bats and obviously in time the Nationals expect Harper to be that guy, but to be there already in his fifth game is surprising. And rare, too.
The last 19-year-old to bat third in a big-league game? B.J. Upton, who did so once in 2004. And before that it was Andruw Jones in 1996 and Ken Griffey Jr. in 1989.
Something tells me he might not be going back to Triple-A when Ryan Zimmerman returns.
The Athletics appear to be closing in on a deal for Mets’ right-hander Jeurys Familia, according to reports from ESPN’s Buster Olney. Nothing has been finalized just yet, however, as the Mets confirmed that they would not be announcing a trade tonight and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic points out that other teams may still be in the mix for Familia’s services. It’s not clear what the A’s would be giving up in any potential deal for the reliever.
Familia, 28, has been pitching well this season. He currently sports a 2.88 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and 9.5 SO/9 through 40 2/3 innings — across-the-board improvements from his last run with the Mets in 2017 — and has racked up 17 saves to boot. He’s due another $3 million for the remainder of 2018, and Rosenthal adds that the club is willing to throw some cash in the deal in order to guarantee a better return for the closer.
While the A’s have one of the better bullpens in the American League, sitting seventh-best with a 3.50 ERA and 2.8 fWAR, they still have a ways to go in order to overtake the Mariners and Astros for a postseason berth by season’s end. Familia’s contract expires at the end of the year, but he should provide enough short-term value to give the A’s the boost they need.