Bryce Harper: “I have to step up a little bit.”

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Bryce Harper didn’t exactly put up bad numbers last season, but they weren’t indicative of his talent. He also missed 57 games on the disabled list after tearing the UCL in his left hand while sliding into third base. He finished with a .273/.344/.423 slash line with 13 home runs and 32 RBI in 395 plate appearances.

Harper thinks he has to do more to contribute to the Nationals’ offense in 2015. Via MLB.com’s Bill Ladson:

“I’ll help out for sure,” Harper said. “After losing LaRoche, I have to step up a little bit. I have to do what I need to do. Our pitching is going to take us to the top, hopefully, but we still have to have offense. We have to do the things we need to do. I’m ready to go. I’ll be feeling good.”

The Nationals’ calling card is certainly their pitching, but their offense is nothing to sneeze at, either. Last season, infielder Danny Espinosa and catcher Wilson Ramos were the only two of nine players to take at least 240 trips to the plate and post a below-average adjusted OPS (OPS+; below 100). Harper’s OPS+ was 111, bested by Denard Span, Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche, Jayson Werth, and Anthony Rendon.

Lucas Giolito earns second shutout of season

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The Twins have arguably baseball’s scariest offense. Their average of 5.87 runs per game is second only to the Yankees (5.90) while leading the league in slugging percentage (.501), OPS (.840), and home runs (244). White Sox starter Lucas Giolito made their offense look impotent on Wednesday, blanking them over nine innings for his second shutout of the season. The White Sox won 4-0.

Giolito allowed just three hits and walked none while fanning 12 batters over his nine innings of work. He’s now 14-6 with a 3.20 ERA and a 194/51 K/BB ratio in 151 2/3 innings on the season. Giolito is very much in the AL Cy Young Award picture. The Astros’ Justin Verlander leads the league in ERA at 2.81. A strong finish to the season for Giolito could certainly see his ERA dip below 3.00.

As mentioned, Wednesday’s shutout was Giolito’s second of the season. He and the Indians’ Shane Bieber are the only pitchers with multiple shutouts this season. They are two of only 21 pitchers with a shutout.