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Struggling, frustrated Bryce Harper to get the day off

Aug 9, 2012, 10:30 AM EDT

Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper has been fighting it. Since the All-Star break he’s hitting .176 with two homers, 26 strikeouts and 15 walks in 116 plate appearances. He’s also getting frustrated, as Adam Kilgore reports, and will be getting a day off to clear his head:

In the Nationals’ 4-3 victory over the Astros on Wednesday, Harper extended his second-half skid by going 0 for 3 with two walks. He twice argued with home plate umpire Angel Hernandez after controversial calls. In the ninth inning, Harper made an ill-advised throw, trying in vain to throw out the tying run at third base while the winning run moved into scoring position. That convinced Johnson that Harper required a break.

To be fair, no one’s arguments with Angel Hernandez should form the basis of any negative judgment given that Hernandez is arguably the most awful umpire around. The called strike three against Harper in the fourth inning was clearly a ball. Both strike two and strike three during his sixth inning strikeout were balls too. Angel’s gonna Angel. It’s a clown strike zone, bro.

But like dog poop in a public park, you gotta learn how to deal with the Angel Hernandezs of the world, and Harper is clearly frustrated at the moment.  A day off could do him some good.

  1. stex52 - Aug 9, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    Seems a shame that one of the lessons kids need to learn to excel at the game is that a sizable fracion of the umpiring staff is incompetent. I understand that there is some expected variability in strike zone calls even with the best. But a baseline competence should be expected and delivered.
    When all the calls are made by machines, the umpire’s union can look in the mirror for the culprits.

  2. natslady - Aug 9, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    Adam LaRoche had never seen Bryce Harper react the way he did to Angel Hernandez in the fourth inning Wednesday night.

    He’d seen the ultra-fiery Harper throw his helmet and break his bat. He was there for the incident in Cincinnati in which Harper took a bat to the dugout wall and wound up with stitches over his left eye. But until Wednesday, LaRoche hadn’t seen Harper jaw at an umpire.

    “I talked to Angel about it right after that at-bat,” first baseman Adam LaRoche said. “I said, ‘What’s going on? From where I’m at, those balls are down.’ He assured me that they were good pitches. He said he would never do that to Bryce, he loves him, he loves the way he plays and that there’s no kind of initiation there. He called it the way he would call it to anybody.”

    LaRoche said he hoped umpires would be more professional than to single out a 19-year-old rookie, but he admitted the subject had come up.

    Here is the link to the article: bryce-harper-argues-angel-hernandez

    • stex52 - Aug 9, 2012 at 10:54 AM

      So I didn’t see the pitches. But the general direction I’m getting is, “Angel’s a nice guy. Angel can’t do his job.”

      • natslady - Aug 9, 2012 at 11:30 AM

        True, on both counts. There was a strange, inconsistent zone not only for Harper but for Gio and for the Stros relievers.

        On the balk, Angel called out “Adam, Adam, come back.” So you have to figure he is on good terms with the veterans. Sorry, stex, but the stadium so empty you can hear everything. (That was before all this happened). Also very considerate of the Stros catcher and, actually, he didn’t eject Harper for arguing balls and strikes, which he was within his rights to do. But, which is worse, he thought he was calling pitches correctly, or he was tightening the zone for a rookie? I’m not sure, honestly.

      • stex52 - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:54 PM

        Of course the stadium is empty. The general attitude around town (crystallized in the local paper) is “We’re not going to reward them for making our team a national joke.”

        Note I wasn’t there, either.

  3. gmsalpha - Aug 9, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Having one of your best players sit a game when they’re struggling isn’t going to sit well initially with the player, but it is probably for the best. You may recall how badly Albert Pujols started the year, and all it took was their manager sitting him a game to get him off the schnide.

    Good luck to Harper and the Nats. He’s been a big part of shaking up that division.

  4. metalhead65 - Aug 9, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    so will his slump cause the writers to give anybody else a honest chance for consideration for ROY or has it still been decided that he gets it for what he did before the all star game? nothing against the kid but shouldn’t other guys who have had a steady year be in consideration for it also? say somebody like Todd Frazier of the reds?

    • heyblueyoustink - Aug 9, 2012 at 12:16 PM


    • delawarephilliesfan - Aug 9, 2012 at 12:39 PM

      The same writers who loved the story of .288, 8 HR’s and 25 RBI’s making you an All Star?

      Don’t count on it

  5. delawarephilliesfan - Aug 9, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Nats GM Mike Rizzo just held a Press Conference to criticize this article:

    “I’ve never seen a more classless, gutless chicken [bleep] writer in my 30 years in baseball. Craig Calcaterra is fake tough. He thinks he’s going to intimidate us by pointing out our 19-year-old rookie’s slump? He doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.”

  6. mybrunoblog - Aug 9, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    Harper is a little early for his sophomore slump. It’s all about adjustments. He’ll be fine. Remember. They throw ungodly breaking stuff in the show.

    • natslady - Aug 9, 2012 at 12:54 PM

      Harper’s been dealing with back problems almost all season. He’s was off one game of a doubleheader and another game where he came in to pinch hit. Even for young legs, that’s a grind, and he doesn’t exactly pace himself.

      Fiers (pitcher for Milwaukee) deserves an ROY look, that kid is good. Harper’s been great for the Nats but that doesn’t mean he’s a lock for ROY.

  7. The Dangerous Mabry - Aug 9, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Jim Joyce blew a call and got a book deal out of it. Maybe Angel Hernandez is hoping to co-author something with Harper one day, and figures this is the best way to get it done.

  8. angrycorgi - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    If it makes him feel any better, Wunderkind Mike Trout has struck out 28 times in only 104 ABs since the all-star break…of course his BA in the same time frame is 0.356…but his BA since the beginnning of August (only 8 games and 33 ABs) is 0.273 with 13 strikeouts! He appears to be cooling down some lately.

    • angrycorgi - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:20 PM

      I love it when people give a thumbs up or thumbs down for a stats posting. Fact is fact, who cares if you like it or not.

      • stex52 - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:40 PM

        A certain number are going to thumb you down because you are you. Why in the world would you worry about them? I appreciate the data most of the time.

  9. danfrommv - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    I’ll take Mike Trout, thank you

    • angrycorgi - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:13 PM

      I’d have to agree with you.

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