Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper came to the plate seven times on Sunday afternoon against the Cubs, but he had zero official at-bats. That’s because the Cubs played keep-away. Harper drew six walks — three intentional — and was hit by a pitch. The Nationals eventually lost 4-3 in 13 innings, suffering a four-game series sweep at Wrigley Field.
Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo saw Harper a lot over the course of the afternoon. So much so that Rizzo said, “Honestly, we ran out of stuff to talk about,” per Bruce Miles of the Chicago Daily Herald.
According to Baseball Reference, Harper is the first player to draw six walks in a game since Jeff Bagwell on August 20, 1999 against the then-Florida Marlins. Only two others had done it before Bagwell dating back to 1913, Andre Thornton (1984) and Jimmie Foxx (1938). Harper is the first since at least 1913 to reach base seven times without recording an official at-bat.
Harper, 23, has a .265/.432/.633 triple-slash line on the year along with 10 home runs and 27 RBI. With eight intentional walks, he’s already more than halfway to last year’s total of 15. If Ryan Zimmerman — who hits behind Harper and left a record 14 runners on base on Sunday — can’t figure things out at the plate, Harper is going to see more and more opposing managers opt to pitch around him.