Nationals Knock Phillies, Former Star Harper From NL Playoff Contention, In Clinching Wild-Card Playoff Berth

Nationals take on Phillies When the Washington Nationals failed to sign outfielder Bryce Harper and he took his talents to Philadelphia, it appeared the Phillies had one-upped their National...



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Nationals take on Phillies

When the Washington Nationals failed to sign outfielder Bryce Harper and he took his talents to Philadelphia, it appeared the Phillies had one-upped their National League East division rival.

The Nats were reeling anyway, having missed the postseason in 2018. Now their biggest star in the batter’s box – though certainly not their best hitter – was gone after a ridiculous scorpion dance of negotiations with the team. Harper wanted a $330 million contract and he got it. Someone else can decide if a career .250 hitter is worth it. Washington said no.

Though the Nationals staggered from the gate with a 19-31 mark, they got the last laugh. The Nats closed in on a wild-card berth with a 4-1 victory over the Phillies on Tuesday in the first game of a doubleheader, and that defeat knocked the Phillies from contention. In the second game, Trea Turner’s grand slam powered a 6-5 triumph that secured the Nats’ fifth playoff berth in eight years.

Harper had one hit in four at-bats in the first loss and didn’t make a postgame appearance in the clubhouse until it was too late for reporters to interview him. That’s $330 million worth of guts and grace right there. Fans booed him at each at-bat, and why shouldn’t they? It’s a guy who bolted for a rival franchise. Yell your lungs out, folks.

The guy who was, in reality, Washington’s best hitter drove in two runs with a pair of sacrifice flies, bringing his league-leading RBI total to 124. That would be Anthony Rendon, and Nats fans can only hope the club gives him whatever he wants to resign. In eight years with Washington, Harper surpassed 100 RBI just twice – and that was in his final two seasons. Yet his demands knew no bounds.

What goes around, it’s said, comes around. It came around for Harper and the Phillies in our nation’s capital on Tuesday.

 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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