Posted May 22, 2013

Nationals closer blames Bryce Harper after blown save

MLB
Outfielder Bryce Harper failed to make a crucial catch in Washington's loss to San Francisco on Tuesday night. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images Sport)

Outfielder Bryce Harper failed to make a crucial catch in Washington’s loss to San Francisco on Tuesday night. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images Sport)

Nationals closer Rafael Soriano blamed outfielder Bryce Harper for being out of position on a game-tying triple that sent Washington’s game Tuesday against San Francisco to extra innings, reports USA TODAY‘s Jorge Ortiz. The Nationals lost 4-2.

Soriano had two strikes on Gregor Blanco with two outs in the ninth and the tying run on first base, when Blanco drilled a ball over Harper’s head.

From the USA TODAY report: 

“With two outs and the tying run at first, you have to play the outfield so the ball doesn’t go over your head,” Soriano said in Spanish after the game.

“It may not have been a catch-able ball, but if we’re positioned the right way, there might have been a different outcome. With two outs, I could tell my four-year-old son, ‘You know where you need to play,’ and he would go to the right spot to make the play. It’s not an excuse, and I’m not speaking badly about anybody, but I think that’s how you play the game.”

Harper acknowledged afterwards that he should have caught the ball. The outfielder missed three games after colliding with a fence at Dodger Stadium while chasing down a deep fly ball. He was barely to the warning track on Blanco’s triple Tuesday but flinched — as if fearing another collision — as he reached up to try to snag the ball.

“Of course it crosses your mind after you jam into a wall, and it doesn’t really feel very good,” Harper said, according to Ortiz’s report. “It sucks not making the play. I totally put that loss on me.”

The defending National League East champions have struggled this season. They are 23-23 and 4.5 games behind Atlanta in their division. It’s still early, but recent difficulties may be starting to weigh on the team.


18 comments
RandyBoyce
RandyBoyce

Perhaps the manager should learn two words, "defensive replacement."   You don't want a guy who can hit 40 bombs diving into walls and missing time because of it.   I hate to say it, but both are correct:  Soriano is frustrated because the OF should be playing deep "no doubles" and Harper should be worried about slamming into another wall and missing even more playing time cause the team can't win without his bat in the line-up.  

You got a 25 man roster Davey, use it.   I think the real problem is that they don't have enough defensive OF's on the bench to go to.  Harper grew up as a catcher, Moore a first baseman, etc.   I saw that they used Kobernus in left last night, he grew up as an Infielder, playing mostly 2B.  They've also use Lombardozzi in the OF.    

My main point i guess is that it you don't have defensive OF's on your roster, you will have situations like this that happen from time to time.   But at the same time, Soriano has to realize that he will get more save opportunities due to having these bats in the line up, especially Harper.  

DugoutBoyz
DugoutBoyz

I can see both sides. Soriano said the result may have been different had he kept the ball in front of him.  And in a tie game in the 9th and runners on base high school players are taught to play deep.  Harper was understandably gun-shy after running into a wire fence and needing stitches and Advil.  Bryce acknowledged it was his fault.   Oh....and he won a game on the road trip by scoring both runs hitting a HR and a double later that week. 

tomb159
tomb159

This is the problem w/ people today, no one wants to be accountable for THEIR OWN actions.  He can't imagine that w/ 2 strikes HE SHOULD HAVE MADE A BETTER PITCH!  I am a very saddened Mets fan and I am absolutely certain Harper will be in DC LONG after Soriano has exited MLB!

6marK6
6marK6

Look, if one of your teammates screws up, call him on it in the locker room, that is, as long as you do not make a bunch yourself. But you don't go public, that is the action of a b*****!

emncaity
emncaity

"I'm not speaking bad of anybody, but my 4-year-old son would know better."

 

Got it.  Wait until next time somebody on your team has an opportunity to call _you_ out for something.

silverpen00
silverpen00

Wow, way to throw your teammate under the bus. Stay classy, Rafael. Maybe your 4-year-old should play right field? The Giants would never crucify one of their own teammates to the press.

JasonMacBride
JasonMacBride

Not exactly an all out effort to catch the ball. Maybe catcher is his best position.

joeshine730
joeshine730

Harper is too important to get hurt. The pitcher should have struck out the batter or had a ground out. Not let the ball get powered to fence. Cut the reliever. Keep harper.

GeoffreyHolland
GeoffreyHolland

I tell you, give Harper a 1B mitt so he can preserve his body. Don't want him to be another Pete Reiser.

eeodjo@aol.com
eeodjo@aol.com

Soriano's feelings is hurt because his team lost the game. But as a professional, he should also understand that anything can happen in the game. He could have served up a hanging fastball that could have gotten out of the ballpark or, Harper could have been at the right place to catch the ball but was not, what difference does that make, their team lost. Whether anybody knows it or not, THAT IS BASEBALL! Blaming someone for losing a game usually hurts the team in the long run. Life moves on and Soriano should know this.

Sportsfan18
Sportsfan18

At least Harper isn't ducking or trying to blame others or talking back to his teammate...

bobinpowell
bobinpowell

Other possible problems:  Allowing the lead-off batter to get on base.  Not making a better pitch to Blanco with two strikes on him.  Shame on you, Bryce Harper.  Oh, wait a minute...

 

John4
John4

Rafael Soriano has a big mouth.  If there is a problem with a teammate after a loss, that is something that should be discusses privately afterwards.  Only a tool vents his anger or frustration with a teammate through the media.  

John4
John4

@JasonMacBride Yes, it was not a good play on the ball, but to think that catcher is his best position is foolish.  If he moves (back) to catcher, he will shorten his career.  

David G
David G

 @joeshine730 If Harper cannot play defense then the Nats should trade him to the AL so he can be a DH. 

PAZSKY
PAZSKY

 @David G  @joeshine730  You guys are kidding right? The guy usually goes all out on plays..what games are you watching?

PAZSKY
PAZSKY

 @David G  @joeshine730 Not at all, I just can't stand ignorant people who write crap they know nothing about...its a trend in these forums.