Nationals closer blames Bryce Harper after blown save
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.
“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.