Bryce Harper hits home run, talks smack to Hunter Strickland in elimination loss (videos)
Bryce Harper showed that so long as he stays healthy and the Washington Nationals continue to put pieces around him, the 21-year-old could prove to be a postseason offensive force to be reckoned with for years to come.
Harper hit a mammoth solo home run into McCovey Cove off San Francisco Giants reliever Rod Strickland on Tuesday night to tie Game 4 of the NLDS at two runs apiece in the 7th inning.
The towering round-tripper just right of the left field foul pole at AT&T Park was only the third home run to land in the drink in McCovey Cove in postseason history.
It also put the young slugger in some pretty heady company.
Bryce Harper has FOUR #postseason HRs before the age of 22. Only other players to do that? Andruw Jones, Miggy and Mantle.
— MLB (@MLB) October 8, 2014
It was the second time this series that Harper took Strickland deep, and Harper let the Giants relief pitcher know about it, not only when he was taking a leisurely stroll around the bases but also once he returned to the dugout. Harper could be seen yapping in Strickland’s direction as he enthusiastically high-fived teammates.
While Harper’s competitive fire and clutch hitting is quite the sight to behold, in the end, the Nationals came up short as the Giants put up a run in the bottom of the 7th and held on for a 3-2 win, eliminating the Nats in the NLDS three games to one, something Harper acknowledged after the game.
“They beat us, so the home run was nothing,” he told reporters, via Sporting News.
Harper had an incredibly impressive divisional series, hitting .294/.368/.882 with three home runs, 4 RBI and four runs scored for the offensively challenged Nationals, a team that managed to score only nine runs in four NLDS games.
So, yeah, with a little more maturity, a little less smack talk when the game remains undecided and a few more cracks at postseason glory, Harper is bound to remain a player baseball fans want to see in the playoffs … save for fans of the team Harper is batting against.
(photo credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports/SI.com)