Bryce Harper has not played for the Washington Nationals (43-38) since April 25th when he tore a ligament in his thumb when he slid into third base. The Nats officially activated him from the disabled list before tonight’s series opener against the Colorado Rockies (36-46) in DC.
Harper Returns For His Bobblehead Night
When Harper hit the disabled list, he had a .289/.352/.422 slash line, a .339 wOBA, and 116 wRC+. Getting his bat back tonight will be a significant boost to the Nats lineup, and it will finally put everyone in their proper lineup spots. In his rehab appearances with Potomac and Harrisburg last week, Harper went 9-for-14 with four home runs and a double. He hit three of those home runs in one game, his final rehab appearance on Saturday. It will be exciting to see him back in the Nats lineup every day again.
Prolific (Purple) Power
The Rockies hit a lot of home runs. Like, a lot of them. Obviously, playing at Coors Field with the thin mile-high air helps, but their 98 home runs at the end of June is 10 more than any other NL team. Even still, they’ve hit 41 home runs on the road, which is fourth-best in the senior circuit, and they’re one of only four teams in the league that creates runs at an above-average rate, according to wRC+. The Nats pitchers will certainly have their work cut out for them, and generating ground balls will be crucial.
An NL MVP?
Troy Tulowitzki is having an MVP-caliber season in Denver this season. He has finished in the top five in MVP voting already in his career and is a three-time All Star, but if he continues to be healthy this year, only Giancarlo Stanton is even in the conversation as legitimate competition. His .353/.445./618 slash is ridiculous, made more insane by his 180 wRC+, which means he creates runs at an 80% higher rate than the average hitter. Only Mike Trout in the AL is better. It will certainly be a challenge for the Nationals’ pitchers to keep him at bay.
(All stats below are from the past week, unless otherwise noted)
In The Zone
Adam LaRoche (1B) .333 avg, 1.073 OPS, 3 HR, 0.3 WAR
Drew Stubbs (CF) .368 avg, 1.215 OPS, 2 HR, 0.4 WAR
Anthony Rendon (3B) .345 avg, .927 OPS, 1 HR, 0.4 WAR
DJ LeMahieu (INF) .409 avg, .913 OPS, 0 HR, 0.3 WAR
Ian Desmond (SS) .233 avg, .500 OPS, -0.1 WAR, 33.3% K-rate
Charlie Blackmon (OF) .250 avg, .554 OPS, -0.2 WAR, 18.2% K-rate
Probable Pitchers (full season)
6/30, RHP Jordan Zimmermann (5-4, 2.95 ERA, 2.79 FIP, 7.92 K/9) vs. LHP Yohan Flande (0-0, 7.20 ERA, 4.70 FIP, 7.20 K/9)
7/1, RHP Stephen Strasburg (6-6, 3.70 ERA, 2.77 FIP, 10.58 K/9) vs. LHP Christian Friedrich (0-2, 8.10 ERA, 6.30 FIP, 9.90 K/9)
7/2, RHP Doug Fister (6-2, 2.83 ERA, 4.00 FIP, 5.23 K/9) vs. LHP Tyler Matzek (1-2, 4.24 ERA, 3.40 FIP, 4.63 K/9)