Bryce Harper Makes Unusual History
The reigning NL MVP has proved how much of a threat he can be when he steps into the batters-box. Yesterday, the Chicago Cubs figured out a way to negate his slugging ability. Sort of.
During their 4-3 win over the Washington Nationals in 13 innings, the Cubs walked the Nats slugger six times while he was also hit by a pitch, making him the first player to reach base seven times in MLB history without recording an at-bat in the same game.
"They had a plan. They had a plan and unfortunately it worked," Harper said after the game.
Harper matched the MLB record that was last achieved by Jeff Bagwell in 1999 by walking six times in a single game. Three of those walks were intentional.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon insists that walking Harper each time wasn't the plan, but more of a circumstance reaction.
"I know that he's not as hot as he can be coming into this series, but you don't want to get him hot," Maddon said. "I've been part of that in the past. We did what we thought we had to do today, and it happened to work. So good for our guys."
Harper has made his presence known around baseball as the best hitter in the game. The fact that Jake Arrieta, who may arguably be the best pitcher in the majors at this moment, stayed out of the strike zone; and at some times wasn't even remotely close, pitched around Harper, goes to show how great of a player that his opponents believe he is.