Washington Nationals Gio Gonzales was going uphill on K Street last night. From Gio Gonzalez fans nine, escapes jam for fourth win (Nationals Journal, The Post):
He struck a season-high nine batters. All of his victims swung at strike three, eight of them on a mid-90s fastball that he zipped over the outside corner all night. His strikeout total for the year climbed to 50 in just 41 2 / 3 innings, one behind rotation mate Stephen Strasburg for the National League lead.
But Gonzalez also issued four walks and used 115 pitches, the most of any Nationals starter this season, in only five innings
The Nats had 7-0 lead over the Cincinnati Reds at one point (homers by Roger Bernadina for the second day in a row and Danny Espinosa contributed) but it wasn’t a comfortable one. The Reds kept putting runners on, getting a few across, and threatening to tie it up late. The Nats bullpen held on, but there was some anxiety.
But that’s not the story…
Rookie Bryce Harper has, in the views of some, gone against type since his promotion to the big leagues by being a model citizen. I joked with someone the other day that douchy thing about him was his hair. Well, the skullet was gone last night (Nats Enquirer) — too beautiful for this world, right?
Harper finally slipped — he went 1 for 6 last night. At the plate, he went 0 for 5. It was in the dugout he got his hit — his face above high right eye. In frusteration, Harper banged his bat against the wall in the dugout and got hit with it on the rebound. Harper went onto the field with his face covered in blood (Nats Enquirer). Had this happened at Nationals Park, the old “Blood Field” name for the neighborhood might have come back.
Seeing Harper covered in blood isn’t a happy sight because it makes a Nats fan worry that this 1.) an actual injury that will keep him out of action 2.) a sign of a bad temper that will hinder his play 3.) a serious injury that will hurt his development or limit his potential.
Let’s try not to think about that though and try to look on the bright side of life — the rookie “hazing.”
Ian Desmond has already declared that Harper will be known as Bam Bam (@AdamKilgoreWP). Given that last year, the “hazing” was sending the Nats rookies up to New York on the train dressed as Smurfs, it stands to reason that this year’s rookies will be dressed as the citizens of Bedrock. Harper will get to be Bam Bam of course. Wilson Ramos will probably volunteer to be Pebbles even though he’s not a rookie though if he doesn’t improve his defense behind the plate, he’d probably deserve it. It won’t be quite as fun as the Smurfs because no hazing ever will be.
By the way, YouTube doesn’t seem to have any clips of Bamm Bamm (proper spelling it turns out) saying “BAMM BAMM!” Baby boomers, you are letting us down.
The final word on Harper’s incident (ha! People are still talking about his getting hit by Cole Hamels) comes from @JeffPassan:
Dear Bryce Harper: Hitting yourself with a bat in the head is so passe. Use me next time. I’m the new hotness. Sincerely, Fire Extinguisher.
Uh, actually one more, this time from @craigcalcaterra
That bat that hit Harper in the face is classless, gutless and chickenfeces. It’s fake tough.
Remember everyone, no matter the score, the Internet always wins.
Nats have clinched the season series with the Reds, but have two more to go this weekend, tonight (overlapping with the Capitals game 7) and tomorrow afternoon.