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State of the Nats: Harper’s hip, Zim on fire

Sep 9, 2013, 12:14 PM EST

Photo by USA Today Photo by USA Today

Top storylines:

Bryce Harper’s hip – This week we learned Harper is dealing with an injury to his hip, an ailment serious enough to send him home to Washington from Miami for further testing. Harper has clearly been hobbled lately and it brings into question whether he should return at all this season. Exactly how long Harper has been dealing with this particular injury isn’t quite clear, but perhaps with the hopes of a wild card berth diminished, the time has come to rest those who are banged up. If Harper’s year is indeed over, he’ll finish with just 101 games played. Injuries have been a big story of his 2013 season, though he has still been able to produce with a .273 average, 19 home runs and 62 runs. His numbers overall are down from his rookie season, but he has raised his OPS by 65 points up to .882. That’s thanks to much improved patience at the plate. He walked 56 times last year and had 120 strikeouts, this year he has 57 walks already with 84 strikeouts.

Auditions for 2014 – Tanner Roark showed what he can do as a starting pitcher against the Marlins on Saturday and could get more opportunities over the last 20 games, but he isn’t the only guy auditioning for next year. Tyler Moore, Corey Brown and Jeff Kobernus are all being evaluated with a look towards 2014, as the Nats’ bench will need significant upgrades. Kobernus helped the Nats beat the Phillies on Wednesday with a stolen base and a run in the eighth inning. He provides speed and grit, especially on the basepaths. Brown has also shined so far with a homer in his first at-bat and two walks in nine plate appearances. He brings power from the left side and also has some speed. Moore has been much-improved since rejoining the Nats in August after an unfortunate start to the season. Can he still make the case for a permanent roster spot? A strong finish to the year is paramount if he expects to have a future in Washington.

Ryan Zimmerman’s surge - Zimmerman has exploded over the last week with five home runs in his last six games. He now has 20 on the season which is the sixth time in the last eight seasons he’s reached that mark. His season up until recently had been a disappointment, but Zim is starting to near his career averages in several categories. He has a ways to go to reach his runs and RBI totals from last season, but if Zimmerman keeps up his current pace he will end up with a respectable 2013 line. With the ups and downs of this season for the Nats, these brief individual surges make you wonder why it never fully came together for the team as a whole. The slumps seemed to coincide with each other, with the hot streaks spread few and far between.

NL East Standings

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NL Wild Card Standings

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Offensive game of the week: Wilson Ramos 9/3 vs. Phillies – 1 for 2, HR, 4 RBI, R, 2 BB

Pitching game of the week: Tanner Roark 9/7 vs. Marlins – 6 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 4 SO, 71 pitches, 46 strikes

Quote of the week:

Davey Johnson on Harper’s hip:

It’s something we need to aggressively attack. We’ve been kind of treating it as a slight hip strain. But obviously, it’s something more serious than that. We need to fix it, and he needs to finish the year strong.

Tweet of the week:

Rest in peace…

Road ahead

MON – 7:10 p.m. at New York Mets (Gonzalez)
TUE – 7:10 p.m. at New York Mets (Zimmermann)
WED – 7:10 p.m. at New York Mets (Haren)
THUR – 1:10 p.m. at New York Mets (Roark)
FRI – 7:05 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Strasburg)
SAT – 7:05 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Gonzalez)
SUN – 1:35 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Zimmermann)

  1. 3on2out - Sep 9, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Bonsai is dead? What is Ian talking about?

    Harper can sit. Let’s take a look a Tyler and Corey.

  2. Jay Zee - Sep 9, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    Typo catch: The Nats are actually at home for the upcoming Philadelphia series this weekend. Had me panicking there for a second because I bought tickets to the Saturday game.

  3. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 9, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Bonsai is dead? What is Ian talking about?

    It’s a metaphor.

    • TimDz - Sep 9, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      I believe that comment was in reference to Suzuki leaving an actual bonsai tree with Ian….

      Apparently, Desmond does not have a green thumb….

      • Hiram Hover - Sep 9, 2013 at 3:06 PM

        Sometimes a bonsai is just a bonsai…

  4. Chase Hughes - Sep 9, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    @Jay Zee –

    Good catch! Sorry about that, the Nats are HOME against the Phillies.

  5. Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 9, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Ok, the Nats know what’s wrong with Harper and in Rizzo’s typical style that he shares with his previous Prez (Kasten), in no rush to tell us.

    When the Mets had the news on Harvey, there was no suppressing it. Here it is.

    • bowdenball - Sep 9, 2013 at 2:53 PM

      Relax, GoSM. They’re probably just waiting until everyone gets to Citi Field today so they can tell the press all at once. I think they usually start showing up around now. It’s not like the Mets ran to from the doctor’s office to the podium with the MRI results; there was an hour or two of lag time IIRC. Nobody is suppressing anything. Now if we get to first pitch tonight and you still haven’t heard anything, at that point you might have a legitimate gripe.

      Ladson actually said on Twitter that “OF Bryce Harper will be out of action for two more days. Harper had test done on the hip and the doctors found inflammation. That’s it.” So take that for what it’s worth.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 9, 2013 at 3:13 PM

        106.7 saying just inflammation and nothing structural but I haven’t seen that anywhere else.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Sep 9, 2013 at 3:17 PM

        Bowdenball, Nats got to CitiField at 2:30 and was hoping they’d speak then Media doesn’t want to wait so I guess Ladson broke the news. I’m just antsy and nervous after someone wrote about Bo Jackson on here this morning.

    • jd - Sep 9, 2013 at 3:26 PM

      Ghost,

      I wouldn’t panic just yet. Interesting that you are using the Mets as an example of an organization which is good at communication. It wasn’t always this way. Before Alderson came aboard every injury was mis communicated to the media and the public. It was a running joke around these parts that when a player was out with a broken finger nail you can expect him to be out for the entire year.

      • nats128 - Sep 9, 2013 at 3:59 PM

        jd I agree with you. I also think under Kasten the Nats had nothing good going on and they were always nervous about letting out bad news.

  6. Theophilus T.S. - Sep 9, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    I’m responsible for raising the spectre of Bo Jackson — as an example of the depths of the unknown in which the Nats seem to be swimming. Jackson got tackled; Harper is collision prone (walls, people, ground, etc.). This is not to say this is the same thing, just that the first priority is to be certain Harper doesn’t end up with a 3-4 year career. In no way do I believe this is “inflammation.” (If so, of what? “Bursitis” is inflammation; “arthritis” is information, etc.) Inflammation is something you treat with aspirin and, if that doesn’t work, hot and cold packs. Then you send the player out to take his turn at bat, his place in the outfield. If he can’t play, however, this is no ordinary “inflammation.” I’ve generally taken a charitable view of the team medical staff. This time not. They don’t seem to have a clue about what’s happen and have given a B.S, assessment that covers the waterfront response. If I was Harper I wouldn’t think about showing up at the park until I’d seen 3-4 doctors. In fact, let’s see in tomorrow morning’s paper where Harper will be going for another opinion before he gets on a train to NYC.

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