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Bryce Harper reaches 100 RBI for the first time in his career

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For the first time in his seven-year career, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has reached triple digits in RBI. The 25-year-old lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to plate Adam Eaton in the bottom of the fourth inning of Monday night’s game against the Marlins, pushing the Nationals’ lead to 3-1.

Harper finished the 2015 season with a career-high 99 RBI en route to winning the NL MVP Award. His next-highest RBI total was 87 last year and 86 in ’16.

That a player as talented as Harper never reached 100 RBI prior to this year shows the fatal flaw in RBI as a statistic. Having a lot of RBI is very dependent on having RBI opportunities. Last year, Harper had the likes of Brian Goodwin, Wilmer Difo, and a past-his-prime Jayson Werth batting in front of him — none of the three exactly mavens of reaching base, at least as far as last year is concerned. Harper, of course, has also struggled to stay healthy — he has crossed 140 games in a season just three times — which has also been a factor in his depressed RBI totals.

Harper is a free agent after the season. Due to sky-high expectations, his 2018 has often been thought of as a disappointment, but he entered Monday batting .245/.391/.495 with 34 homers, 98 runs scored, and 126 walks (tops in the majors). In this day and age, hitting 100 RBI won’t move the needle too much towards a payday, but it doesn’t hurt. Those other numbers, which are excellent, will do most of the talking.

A.J. Hinch: “If it was any other time of the year, [José Altuve] wouldn’t be in the lineup.”

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It has been evident throughout the playoffs that Astros second baseman José Altuve’s right knee is bothering him. Altuve battled a right knee issue in July, then banged it up again in Game 2 of the ALDS and it’s been a problem ever since.

Manager A.J. Hinch said that if it were the regular season, he wouldn’t put Altuve in the lineup. Per MLB.com’s Richard Justice, the full quote:

He’s hurt. And if it was any other time of the year, he wouldn’t be in the lineup or wouldn’t be playing. He’d probably be on the DL. … But he’s showing up every day in good spirits, ready to go, giving 100 percent of what he’s got. He should be commended.

Hinch also said of Altuve, “His teammates revere him. The production that he’s doing on one leg is pretty incredible. And he’s trying not to talk about it. And therefore I am.”

During the ALCS, Altuve has hit .250/.368/.313 in 16 at-bats. He has just one extra-base hit but he has racked up three singles and drawn three walks while scoring four runs. Hinch has had Marwin González start at second base Games 3 and 4 and is doing so again on Thursday night in Game 5.