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Tracking Bryce Harper’s major league debut

Apr 29, 2012, 12:37 AM EDT

We’ll provide updates throughout the night as baseball’s top prospect, 19-year-old outfielder Bryce Harper, makes his MLB debut against the Dodgers. Here’s the lineup, via Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post:

First pitch is scheduled for 9:10 p.m. ET. Washington’s Stephen Strasburg is facing LA’s Chad Billingsley.


6:58 PM: From Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times comes this shot of Harper speaking to the media at Dodger Stadium before pregame batting practice. “I’m not actually that nervous,” he told reporters.



7:03 PM: CBS Sports’ Scott Miller says Harper’s mom, dad, sister and brother-in-law will be in attendance.


7:47 PM: It should come as no surprise that Harper, who once smashed a 502-foot dinger during a high school home run derby contest, absolutely demolishes pitches in batting practice. Via Kilgore:


9:15 PM: We’re underway.’s Mark Zuckerman brings the all-important uniform update:


9:31 PM: Harper walks to the plate to heavy boos from the Dodger Stadium crowd, takes three pitches (two balls, one strike), then grounds out on a chopper to Billingsley. It’s 0-0 in the second inning.


9:35 PM: Hernandez snapped this photo of Harper’s first at-bat from the Dodger Stadium press box:



9:59 PM: Harper just barely avoided a full-speed collision with Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond on a bloop single by Dodgers outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. in the third inning. The ball fell in between the two Nats.


10:20 PM: Harper flew out softly to left field in his second trip to the plate after working another 2-1 count.


10:54 PM: Harper blasted a double to the base of the center field wall in his third at-bat, after working a 3-2 count. He threw his helmet off heading into second base, showing off a sort of hybrid mohawk.


11:13 PM: Harper threw a bullet to home plate in the bottom of the seventh inning, nearly nabbing Dodgers infielder Jerry Hairston Jr. as he tried to score from second base on a ball slapped into left field. But Wilson Ramos dropped the ball while applying the tag. The game is tied at 1-1 as we move to the top of the eighth.


11:54 PM: Harper drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to left field in the top of the ninth inning. Ramos then added an RBI single, giving the Nationals a late 3-1 lead over Los Angeles.


12:09 AM: A fan ran onto the field in the bottom of the ninth inning, interrupting play. Both television broadcasts avoided showing him for obvious reasons, but Kilgore passes along a mini recap:


12:18 AM: Nationals setup man Henry Rodriguez surrendered two runs on three hits while recording only two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Dodgers tied it 3-3 and we’re heading to extras.


12:37 AM: Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp hit a walkoff home run over the center field fence to win it in the bottom of the 10th inning. Harper finished 1-for-3 with an RBI. A fantastic night of baseball all around.

  1. ezthinking - Apr 28, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    How easy is it to hate this guy? Not that it’s right or that I do, but come on, the guy is living the American dream and I’m not, right?

    Go get ’em Bryce. Lord knows I can’t but I wish I could.

  2. btwicey - Apr 28, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    Couldn’t have said it better myself – go forth and deliver / learn, Bryce

  3. broadstbully - Apr 28, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    As a Phillies fan, I hate the Nats. But as a baseball fan, I can’t wait to see what he and Strasburg do for this franchise in the coming years. I’m rooting for them both.

  4. randygnyc - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    I’ll watch this game tonight with Scully’s broadcast. Curious to see how this kid does.

  5. kjw0626 - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    i hope he does well, but he is still and asshole

    • hittfamily - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:48 PM

      What 19 year old isn’t an asshole? I’m really glad nobody remembers how much of an arrogant prick I was, and I wasn’t even on the cover of Sports Illustrated at 16.

      • georgia - Apr 28, 2012 at 9:35 PM

        In my mind, he can be whatever he wants as long as he produces.

  6. hittfamily - Apr 28, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    The Braves built a dynasty on the back’s of a young 3 hole hitter, and a few young, dominant starters. Good luck kid.

  7. georgia - Apr 28, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    That was the most exciting groundout I’ve seen in a long time. No sarcasm.

    I’m hoping he at least manages to show some power tonight with at least a double. I’m not expecting a three homer game or anything – just a little taste.

  8. randygnyc - Apr 28, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    Sure, he grounded out, but how good is strausberg?

    • jwbiii - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:08 PM

      Three hits, 4 Ks through three. Season ERA below 1.

  9. hojo20 - Apr 28, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    He hit a 502 foot HR in a HS home run derby….with a wood bat?

  10. randygnyc - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:11 PM

    Hojo, I don’t think which bat he hit it with matters. He was only 16 years old (which is the point). He left HS 2 years early.

  11. randygnyc - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:21 PM

    0-2 fly out LF.

    • georgia - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:25 PM

      I think he’ll get at least one hit if he can get two more at-bats. He’s technically getting closer to the outfield fences with each hit…

      It beats watching Anthony Bass of the Padres (THE PADRES) no-hit the Giants right now.

  12. randygnyc - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    Georgia, you just jinxed and ended the no-hitter. Good for Melky.

    • georgia - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:54 PM

      Meh. I’m okay with that. I’m not okay with Lincecum continuing to allow so many walks though.

  13. georgia - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:57 PM

    Nice double by Harper! I like that he’s getting ahead in the count in his at-bats. That’s always a good sign.

  14. randygnyc - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:58 PM

    Booming double over the CF’s head. Off the base of the wall. Congrats, Bryce!!!

    • georgia - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:01 PM

      Randyg, do you think he gets a fourth at-bat?

  15. astrosfan75956 - Apr 28, 2012 at 10:59 PM

    He’s a douche, he threw his helmet off between first and second base.

    • natstowngreg - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:09 PM

      He’s showing some patience and has taken shots the other way. Obviously, one cannot tell after 3 AB, but those are good signs.

      BTW, Strasburg and Billingley aren’t pitching too badly.

      • georgia - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:10 PM

        Minus the HBPs by Strasburg, he’s doing fantastically.

      • natstowngreg - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:57 PM

        Despite that, he was sharper than his last start. Also, he hit 98-99 on MASN’s gun. First couple of starts, he was at 95-96. Of course, it could be the gun, but I doubt it.

        Once again, the Nats come alive in the last 3 innings, and the Dodgers bullpen struggles.

  16. randygnyc - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:11 PM

    It’s a 1-0 game in the 7th, but Dodgers are threatening now to tie it up. It’s more than possible at this point. Only one batter has to reach in the next 2 innings and he’ll be up for sure.

    • georgia - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:14 PM

      Yup. It’s tied now. I hope he gets out of the inning with just the one run.

  17. randygnyc - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    Astro- yes he did, but it looked like it was ill fitting and wobbling all over as he rounded first. I’m sure he’ll have a better fitting helmet tmrw. (yes, I agree, it’s usually a douche move)

    • georgia - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:38 PM

      I agree. It looked like it was getting in his way, and he didn’t really flip it off (like a taunt or any flashy display) – he just knocked it off and kept going.

  18. randygnyc - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:18 PM

    Harper would have had his first outfield assist but Hairston knocked the ball out of the catchers glove during a play at the plate. Cannon for an arm!!

  19. georgia - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:34 PM

    It’s pretty scary that Matt Kemp has gone 0-for-3 (plus a walk) and his average is still far above .400 right now.

  20. randygnyc - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:45 PM

    Barring a double play, Harper wii bat. Larouche singled. Harper on deck.

  21. lameasish - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    Wow, people are really trying to make this guy into some type of god, “he threw a bullet” or whatever was said, there is only about 50 outfeilders who can throw just as hard, cannot wait to hear more hype or hate that will come.

    • natstowngreg - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:07 AM

      Wow, that’s really lame. The kid made an excellent throw. His scouting report says he has a strong arm. No one is making him into the second coming of Roberto Clemente.

  22. randygnyc - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    OMG, just watched a replay of Harper’s double and a few fans right behind homeplate, stood up and mooned Strausberg with their bare asses as he delivered his pitch. ULTIMATE PHOTOBOMB!!!!!!

    • jwbiii - Apr 29, 2012 at 10:26 PM

      Fucking bottom drawer. I hope they’re banned for life.

      • jwbiii - Apr 29, 2012 at 10:33 PM

        If you’re busted for exposing yourself, your pants go to the evidence room, right? Should make for a fun night in jail.

  23. georgia - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:19 AM

    If Rodriguez makes it out of this inning, then we might see more of Harper. 3-3 tied now.

    • natstowngreg - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:29 AM

      The bad Henry returns. Hadn’t seen him in a while. Jamey Wright comes in for the 10th.

      • natstowngreg - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:39 AM

        The game should have ended before Matt Kemp got another chance. It didn’t.

  24. Lukehart80 - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:34 AM

    Harper joins Jose Reyes and B.J. Upton as the only teenagers in the 2000’s to collect a hit in their MLB debut.

    • natstowngreg - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:42 AM

      Thanks for that tidbit. Not too many teenagers even get the chance.

      • georgia - Apr 29, 2012 at 12:44 AM

        Guys, I turned 20 a few months ago. I never even managed a double in middle school or high school PE (sad face). Reyes, Upton, and Harper are some lucky guys.

        Well, they’re talented above all else.

  25. bigoz71 - Apr 29, 2012 at 1:10 AM

    Harper may be the next greatest thing in baseball but Kemp is the current greatest thing.

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