Grant & Danny call Bryce Harper out for lollygagging

Chris Lingebach
August 08, 2018 - 1:20 pm

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier took issue Wednesday with Bryce Harper, for a play they say was overlooked in the Nationals' 3-1 loss to Atlanta the night before.

Ender Inciarte had the game-winning hit in the ninth, a two-run triple off Nats reliever Kelvin Herrera to make the score 3-1.

Although we don't know if an injury or tweak may have contributed, Harper appeared to take his time getting to the ball in right field, and delivered a halfhearted throw to home on the put-out attempt, with the ball arriving as Nick Markakis crossed the plate for the second run of the inning. 

"What the hell was that with Bryce Harper in right field?" Rouhier asked. "It wasn't mentioned on the game telecast on television, but that needs to be addressed. He basically looked like a guy that was pissed off that he struck out the inning before, which he did, to end the inning, and wasn't really concerned about getting the ball back into the infield in a timely manner. And maybe let a run in because of it."

"Bryce Harper's been an incredible bat since the All-Star Break," Paulsen said. "His effort on that play was inexcusable. I have no idea what was going on.

"He may have gotten fooled. Davey Martinez, after the game, did say that it was basically a really bad bounce and that he kind of misplayed it off the wall, and there was nothing else to it. He lollygagged in picking up the ball very slowly. He made a throw that was really good – by the way, flat-footed – to home plate, and it was still a moderately close play. If  he's going a million miles an hour, all-out, I think he's out at the plate."

"You hose Nick Markakis' butt at home plate," Rouhier chimed in. "You throw Inciarte out third. That was unacceptable. That was unacceptable."

"In a game in which, Danny, how many days have we spent, how many hours have we spent on this show?" Paulsen said. "Every sequence matters. Every pitch matters. Grind every at-bat. Every AB has to be executed like it's two outs in the ninth inning, and you're down a run in a World Series Game 7. Every moment matters now. You've given yourself no wiggle room."

Paulsen noted how Harper's resurgence has largely fueled the Nationals' run since the break, a span in which Washington has gone 10-7.

"We can't ignore what happened. I don't know why anyone would want to do that," he said. "That is a big-picture problem."

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