Eight days ago, Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper slammed face-first into the right-field fence at Dodger Stadium while tracking down a deep drive. He required 11 stitches in his chin and raised questions over how hard the 20-year-old prized possession should be attacking fences.
Tuesday night at AT&T Park, Harper was again tasked with tracking down a deep drive toward the right-field wall. This time, Harper was hesitant, and after the Giants claimed a 4-2 win in extra innings, more than one individual placed blame on the Nationals right fielder.
[RECAP: Giants 4, Nationals 2 (10)]
Closer Rafael Soriano, who was charged with a blown save, vented to USA Today after the game:
"With two outs and the tying run at first, you have to play the outfield so the ball doesn't go over your head,” he said.
“It may not have been a catch-able ball, but if we're positioned the right way, there might have been a different outcome. With two outs, I could tell my four-year-old son, 'You know where you need to play,' and he would go to the right spot to make the play. It's not an excuse, and I'm not speaking badly about anybody, but I think that's how you play the game.''
Harper responded in kind, via the Washington Post:
“I don’t want to hit the frickin’ wall full-on,” Harper said. “Of course that crosses your mind after you jam into a wall. It doesn’t really feel very good. It [stinks] that I couldn’t make the play. I totally put that loss on me.”