On Saturday, 19-year old Bryce Harper made his MLB debut with the Washington Nationals. He was called up as a result of Ryan Zimmerman being put on the 15-Day DL after injuring his shoulder.
Harper was the first round pick in the 2010 MLB Draft. It was fitting that Harper should make his MLB debut with Stephen Strasburg pitching for the Nats. Strasburg was the number one pick in the 2009 MLB Draft.
After bouncing out to the pitcher in the top of the second and flying out to left field in the top of the fifth, Harper got his first big league hit in the top of the seventh when he hit a long double over Dodger outfielder Matt Kemp’s head. Harper ran hard to second base. He’s got a little Pete Rose in him.
In the bottom of the seventh, Harper flashed his arm. After A.J. Ellis singled, Harper fired a strike from left field to home plate but Jerry Hairston, Jr. knocked the ball out of Wilson Ramos’ glove and tied the game 1-1. Harper’s gun is almost as good as Rick Ankiel’s. Of course, when Mike Morse returns to the lineup it could be Ankiel who is the odd man out.
Harper then drove in his first big league run on a sacrifice fly in the 9th giving the Nats a 2-1 lead. The Nats added a run on a single by Ramos.
Unfortunately, the Nats bullpen couldn’t hold the lead. The Dodgers tied it in the bottom of the 9th on a wild pitch by Henry Rodriguez.
The Dodgers won the game in the bottom of the 10th on a walk off homerun by (who else?) Matt Kemp. It was Kemp’s 11th homerun of the season. As Kemp rounded the bases, Dodgers fans were chanting, “MVP!!! MVP!!!”
Well, it’s still April. But I have a feeling we’ll be hearing a lot more from both Matt Kemp and Bryce Harper before the season is done.
I also have a feeling the 19-year old Harper will be facing 49-year old Jamie Moyer. When that happens the generation gap will be but sixty feet, six inches apart.