|Harper, above, gained a lot attention last night. (Photo: bloomberg.com)|
Gio Gonzalez was the first Nationals player to appear for the National League Team when he pitched the third inning. He struckout one batter en route to pitching a scoreless-hitless 11 pitch inning to make way for another familiar face for Nats fans.
Stephen Strasburg then took to the mound for the fourth inning. He gave up one hit and one walk and pitched a scoreless inning on 17 pitches. That's when another familiar name entered the game on behalf of the Nationals...what was his name?
Bryce Harper!! That's it! Bryce Harper!
Bryce Harper stepped to the plate to pinch hit to lead off the fifth inning. He took the first three pitches for balls. American League pitcher Jared Weaver then worked a full count and Bryce Harper took ball four on the at-bats sixth pitch. Not bad!
NOTE: Harper was then caught in a run-down between third and second after he got a little too aggressive on the bases following a David Wright infield roller.
Bryce then moved to the outfield and his first fielding attempt in the All-Star game was...well...interesting. Do you remember that game in Cincinnati when Harper completely lost a pop-up and it landed 20 feet behind him? Yeah...
Mike Napoli launched a ball high into the blue Kansas City sky in the bottom of the fifth. Bryce Harper moved under it, like usual, and then promptly...lost it. It was oh so reminiscent of Cincy in that he even put his arms out. Fortunately, the ball only landed a few feet behind him and he turned and picked it up. David Ortiz moved to second on the play.
Two batters later, National League pitcher Clayton Kershaw walked Asdrubal Cabrera to load the bases. With the bases loaded and two outs, AL hitter Ian Kinsler would test the range of Bryce Harper.
Kinsler crushed one that moved Harper all the way back to the left field wall. Harper was able to stay under this one and it dropped into his glove for the out. Nice clutch catch...rookie.
Harper then rounded out his night back striking out swinging.
It was a good night for the Washington Nationals organization. Their two aces, Strasburg and Gonzalez, pitched very well in their respective appearances and the Nationals sent one of the youngest players ever to the All-Star game.
Forget all about Bryce Harper's blunders from last night. I have a feeling that this won't be the last time we see these three at the MLB All-Star Game.
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