Star of the Series 4/16-4/19 (Bryce Harper)

Series Scores

Thursday, April 16, 2015: Nationals 5 Phillies 2

Friday, April 17, 2015: Nationals 7 Phillies 2

Saturday, April 18, 2015: Nationals 3 Phillies 5

Sunday, April 19, 2015: Nationals 4 Phillies 1

Ian Desmond removes Bryce Harper's helmet after his home run on Friday night (MLB.tv)
Ian Desmond removes Bryce Harper’s helmet after his home run on Friday night (MLB.tv)

The Washington Nationals closed out their second of six series matchups with the Philadelphia Phillies Sunday afternoon–one week after dropping two out of three games at Citizens Bank Park.  The Nationals looked like a different team this week when their bats came alive giving them their first series win of the season.  The Nationals scored 19 runs this series after managing just seven runs against the same opponent a week earlier.  The team’s starting pitching had a stellar series.  Doug Fister, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg all earned wins.  The strong team performance made choosing a Star of the Series especially difficult.  Here are the nominees for the 4/16-4/19 series against the Phillies:

  1. Bryce Harper
  2. Max Scherzer
  3. Ryan Zimmerman

Bryce Harper leads the Nationals with four home runs this season including two impressive home runs this series.  His first home run of the series came in the first inning of Friday’s 7-2 victory.  Harper’s game winning home run came off of a curveball from Sean O’Sullivan that he drove over the center field wall.  Harper outdid himself in the fifth inning of Saturday afternoon’s 5-3 defeat when he hit a solo home run off of Aaron Harrang in the fifth inning which traveled 452 feet.  Harper also drew seven walks this series including three intentional passes.

Max Scherzer could easily have entered Friday night’s game with a 2-0 record.  Scherzer only surrendered one earned run in 13.2 innings this season, but he was let down by defensive miscues and meager offensive support.  The right-handed pitcher was lights-out across eight innings of work.  Scherzer demonstrated good control throwing 70 of his 100 pitches for strikes.  He had nine strikeouts and only allowed one run when Odubel Herrera scored on a ground out in the top of the third inning.  Herrera was the only player to advance into scoring position during Scherzer’s eight innings of work doing so in the first and third innings.

Ryn Zimmerman made his presence known this series in the field and at the plate.  Zimmerman, who is in the midst of his first season as a full time first baseman, continues to look like a natural.  His defensive plays could have easily been sent to ESPN’s Baseball Tonight producers for the nightly “web gems” segment.  Zimmerman was holding Darin Ruf on at first base in the top of the fifth inning of Friday night’s game when Sean O’Sullivan popped a bunt into foul territory.  Zimmerman reacted perfectly.  He charged from first base and dove head first to make a catch just a few feet from the Nationals on deck circle.  We also circled two of Zimmerman’s defensive plays in our scorecard from Saturday afternoon’s game.  Zimmerman made a terrific catch on a line drive to first base in the top of the sixth inning with Jeff Francoeur on first and stepped on first to complete a double play.  With two outs and runners on first and second in the seventh inning, Zimmerman fully extended on a sharply hit ball to first base and flipped the ball to Matt Thornton who end the threat.  Zimmerman leads the Nationals with 11 RBI after an impressive series where he drove in seven runs in four games.  Zimmerman’s .211 AVG still needs improvement, but his performance with runners on base has been superb.  He has driven in nine runs over the last seven games.

Star of the Series: Bryce Harper

The Phillies are lucky they limited Harper to just 2 home runs.  They were able to control his offensive production by walking him seven times, but Harper still made his mark this series scoring 5 runs and driving in 4 runs.

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