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.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.