Fans, coaches, players, front offices and television executives alike held their collective breath Saturday night awaiting the results the next morning of Bryce Harper’s MRI on his left knee following an awkward landing on the bag while sprinting to first in a game played on a slick field following a weekend of rain delays in Washington.
While it would be easy to fear a serious injury to the superstar outfielder from Las Vegas after seeing the play that will land Harper on the disabled list for possibly close to the rest of the season combined with the loss of acquired teammate Adam Eaton to a similar injury earlier this season, it was a sigh of relief when the results came back indicating “just” a significant bone bruise.
The impact of Harper’s metal cleats on the rain-slicked base hyperextended his leg severely, as his spikes jammed into the dirt and sent him tumbling through the air. It would take a man of super strong ligaments to avoid a catastrophic knee injury in a case like this, it would seem.
Now, after the armchair diagnosis by several sports injury experts predicting Harper could be sidelined anywhere from two to six weeks (with emphasis on the latter), the Nationals are left with staying the course on the way to the NL East title without their star, but trying to rehabilitate his injury in time for a postseason that the Nationals have prepared and paid for.
Considering Harper’s incessant determination and obvious super-human strength in his muscles and joints, it should be considered promising that he could return healthy in time to at least get some game repetition in near the end of the regular season and not go into October cold.
Harper was even more optimistic in a press conference on Sunday, giving himself a timetable in order to come back in time to solidify his claim on a second NL MVP Award. He said he would wait until he was 100 percent before he would rejoin the lineup, but that he would “tape it up and go out there” if it were a playoff game the following day.
Of course, he would. And you wouldn’t doubt that for a second, would you?
LAA (+120, 8.5o20) at WAS (Wed., 10:05): Tyler Scaggs is coming off a strong start with six scoreless innings in a no decision at SEA last week in his second start since getting back into the LAA rotation. Tanner Roark, of the Nats, has a 5.25 ERA at home this season, but has held this group of Halo bats to a .200 avg. over 48 PAs.
CLE (-130, 9o20) at MIN (Wed., 5:10): The Indians’ Carlos Carrasco is 8-2 on the road with a 3.08 ERA, as he got back on track with an 8-inning, 10-K effort at TB last out after suffering back-to-back five-run outings at home. Twins’ new starter Dietrich Enns fizzled in his debut after coming over from the Yankees, going just 2-1/3 innings, allowing five hits in a ND.
ARI (+105, 11) at HOU (Thu. 11:10): The Astros’ Mike Fiers has allowed this D’backs roster a .316 avg. over 65 PAs, and he’s allowed 19 runs over his last 20-plus innings spanning his last four starts. Arizona’s Patrick Corbin is coming off possibly his best start of the season with a 6-inn., 8-K effort vs. CUB, but has just a 2-8 record with a 6.79 ERA on the road. He has been knocked around by a few of the ‘Stros top bats in just a handful of ABs.
CWS (+123, 10.5o20) at TEX (Thu., 5:05): Tyson Ross’ numbers are pretty ugly with a 7.11 ERA and 1.55 WHIP, but he’s certainly able to persevere in some starts. Reynaldo Lopez was acquired by Sox in the Adam Eaton deal.
SEA (+105, 10.5u15) at TB (Fri., 4:10): Erasmo Ramirez seems to offer little hope for SEA, taking an 0-4 road mark and 6.70 road ERA into The Trop, but he’s coming off a great six-inning effort, allowing no earned runs vs. LAA last out. Austin Pruitt has looked pretty good since entering the Rays’ rotation, facing some of the AL’s toughest lineups over his last four starts.
MIL (+122, 11) at COL (Fri., 5:40): Colorado’s German Marquez has a 4.31 ERA at home and is up over three units for his backers to date. He allowed five runs in four-plus innings last out at MIA after coming off his great start at CLE. The Brewers have veteran Jimmy Nelson toiling; he has a 3.72 ERA but is coming off his worst outing of the year, allowing nine runs in three-plus innings at home in a loss to Cincy.
TOR (+160) at CUB (Sat., 11:20): The Cubs’ new man Jose Quintana has failed to win over his last three starts after winning his first two with Chicago. Quintana allows over a 300 avg. to the expected starting lineup in well over 100 PAs. Nick Tepesch makes his second start with the Jays after giving up five runs in four-plus innings against the Yankees in his first TOR outing.
LAD (-165, 9.5o15) at DET (Sat., 1:05): Hyun-Jin Ryu hasn’t lost in his last eight starts for the Dodgers; he is down three units but has allowed just three runs over his last three starts. The Tigers’ Matthew Boyd had a 5.68 ERA and has been pretty dreadful over his last three starts with a 7.71 ERA.
NYY (-109, 9.5) at BOS (Sun., 10:30): Boston’s Doug Fister alowing over a .350 avg. to Yanks in a 50 AB sample. Sonny Gray has held these expected Sox hitters to just a .200 mark in 73 ABs, though four HRs.
STL (-105, 9u20) at PIT (Sun., 4): PIT’s Ivan Nova has allowed this expected Cards’ lineup a .273 avg. over 22 ABs. He got rocked pretty hard last week against DET, allowing 10 hits and six runs in 6.1 IP. Mike Leake is down 3.69 units for backers but still possesses a 3.48 ERA overall.