Harper returns with a Homerun, Zimmermann improves to 12-3

Nationals 10, Brewers 5

WP J. Zimmermann (12-3) LP: Y. Gallardo (6-8)

Tonight marked the return of Bryce Harper, who wasted no time in announcing his return, smacking the second pitch for his 13th home run of the year.  Harper had been out for the last 31 games due to a lingering knee injury.  He showed no holdups running the bases, so now we will see how the knee reacts to his first game back. 

This was just the beginning for the sluggish Washington offense as they continued some momentum from the game Sunday night where they pounded the New York Mets 13-2, pounding out five runs in the third inning that started with a double from starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann, who went 3-3 from the plate, while also pitching six innings, giving up four runs.  You have to wonder if all the base running took a little out of the Nat’s starter, who is now leading the National League in wins as we approach the all-star game, as he typically goes a bit farther into games.

This two game explosion of 23 runs on 26 hits is a breath of fresh air for a team that has been batting .232 as a team.  Jayson Werth really seemed to enjoy the move back to the two spot in the order, delivering five RBI’s on a 2-for-5 night.  Ryan Zimmerman also contributed a couple RBI’s bringing his season total to 43, second on the team to Ian Desmond, who also knocked in one, giving him 49 for the season so far. This was plenty of offense to allow the bullpen to close things out.  It was a combination of Craig Stammen, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Fernando Abad to finish off the last three innings. 

It was good to see the Nationals take one step closer to being a full roster again.  Speculation is that catcher Wilson Ramos, the last remaining starter on the Disabled List, may return as early as Thursday for the 11 am game against the Brewers on the 4th of July.  It will be interesting to see the lineup that Davey Johnson chooses to employ once Ramos returns.

At least for this night it all seemed to click for the Nationals who are now 26-19 when Harper plays, and 37-10 when they score more than three runs.  Let’s hope that the Nationals can deliver a string of wins over these next thirteen games against the next four teams, all of which currently have losing records.  It could go a long way to brining them back into contention with the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East.

Robert Peterson lives in the Washington DC Metro area and has been covering the Nationals since the team moved to the area in 2005.

3 thoughts on “Harper returns with a Homerun, Zimmermann improves to 12-3

  1. Pingback: July 2nd Momentum Plays | Momentum Plays

    • I agree that it should be a solid run considering Harper is back, Ramos is supposed to be back Thursday and the next 13 games are against teams with losing records. I would love to see them take 10 out of 13, going into the All Star game nine games over .500.

      I would have liked to see Harper hit from the leadoff spot and drop Span to the seven or eight spot with his OBP until he gets it figured out, but you cant argue with the results that Davey Johnson got. I was surprised to see Werth move up, but Rendon had only had one hit in his last eighteen at bats so I guess its not that surprising. I think Harper in the leadoff would allow Laroche to hit third, and if Harper is able to get to second, it effectively cancels the shift that most teams play against Laroche.

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