On Saturday, Nationals manager Matt Williams benched the star for the duration of a game against the St. Louis Cardinals for not hustling to first after hitting a ground ball to the pitcher.
Harper was out on the play, and probably would have been out anyway. On Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, it was pure luck that his slow trot didn’t cost him and the team.
With the Nats trailing 3-1, Harper hit a grounder to Angels first baseman Albert Pujols and began to trot slowly to the bag. This time, however, Pujols mishandled the ball. Only then did Harper charge toward first.
Pujols’ throw to pitcher Joe Smith was off-target, and Harper made it to first safely. A good throw could well have gotten him, and people on Twitter immediately grasped the parallels.
I defended Harper, but he just saw for himself why you #hustle to 1st. Learn, Grasshopper. #Nats