Bryce Harper did his part. He doubled in Ian Desmond in the 5th inning and then smacked a solo homer 377 feet in the 7th. Result: tie ball game, baby. The only problem was that rookie relief pitcher Aaron Barrett decided to throw a wild pitch in the bottom of the same inning to undo the tie. The end result? A 3-2, Game 4 loss to the San Francisco Giants, a 3-1 National League Division Series (NLDS) loss to the same team, and another demoralizing, deflating and depressing loss in the first round of the playoffs at the end of another otherwise delightful Nationals season.
When you’re not ready for prime time, it shows. When you’re ready for prime time, it’s clear to all watching who is a big time, money time, party time player. And outside of recent complete game, no hit, shut out pitcher Jordan Zimmerman, the only player who stepped up to the plate for the Nationals was Bryce Harper.
Mr. Bryce Harper is the only purely positive and palatable player that the Nats have, or at least the only one that showed any gumption and gusto in this series. He literally accounted for all of the Nats runs yesterday in the Game 4 fiasco, as he tried to carry the limp and lame overpromising and under-delivering veteran club on his young back. The kid is only 21, and yet he has the maturity and mentality and manhood to stand up and be counted. As for some of the other Nats, such as Werth and Desmond, when it mattered, you couldn’t find them.
Clearly, the Nats are not ready for prime time. They committed too many errors, had too many slips and blips and oops and bloops to warrant an invitation to play in another series, much less play in the month of October at all. Harsh? Not really. Just read Thomas Boswell and Mike Wise of the Washington Post, two of the best baseball columnists in the business.
So what have we learned? Or more to the point, what have the Nationals learned? From their first year skipper who made some bone head decisions to the players who just didn’t show up, what needs to be fixed and what needs to be forfeited? Harper and Zimmerman: hot. The rest of the team: not. So your build around at least these two and you draw straws for the rest of the lot.
Lest we are too critical, we must remember that all players and teams must pass through a rite of passage on the way to the winners circle. Biblically, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Peter and Paul, and all of the rest of the Hall of Faith Biblical “Players” all had a rite of passage to pass through before they became the champions of faith that we’ve come to love and remember. And the same goes for athletes as well.
Clearly, the Washington Nationals have a few more rounds to go and a few more rungs to climb before being able to hang with the big boys. Losing the game on a wild pitch? Really? Seriously? That’s not exactly what we’ve come to expect of a championship, prime time team.