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.