Bryce Harper isn’t really into you questioning his approach at the plate early in this National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. You want to deal with Adam Wainwright’s absurd curve or the 101 miles-per-hour heater thrown by Cardinals reliever Trevor Rosenthal?
To be fair, Harper has a point. Yes, he’s 1-for-10 in the series so far with six strikeouts. Ultimately, Harper has succumbed to four breaking balls on strikeouts, a fifth on a 93 miles-per-hour fastball from Lance Lynn and yet another on Rosenthal’s blazing fastball that left Harper impressed enough to sarcastically ask St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina if he was serious.
“That’s absolute fuego,” Harper deadpanned. “If you guys want to step in the box you guys can go ahead – because that’s pretty fun.”
But he’s also seen 49 pitches in those 10 at-bats so it’s not like Harper has been over-aggressive at the plate. Three times he’s swung at the first pitch – and with good reason. He doubled doing so in Game 2 and was robbed of a hit by St. Louis second baseman Daniel Descalso in Game 1. And his relatively nonchalant attitude about his numbers so far is likely what will allow him to settle down and make a contribution before this series is done. Either way, for Harper his plan at bat isn’t an issue. He can sense the results coming in part because of that patience.
“My six strikeouts I’ve gone 3-2 on pretty much every single one. So I swung at six balls,” Harper said. “It could go either way – strikeout or walk. So my approach has been good and I think my swings have been good. Just sometimes you get in that little funk and you can’t worry about it.”
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