The sample size was small because the games have been few, but it was still notable that Bryce Harper entered play on Wednesday evening without a home run or any type of extra-base hit in 2014. Also notable was the fact Harper admitted to feeling "terrible" and "lost" at the plate following an 0 for 4 performance on Saturday. Little improvement in the days that followed motivated manager Matt Williams to move Harper down to seventh in his batting order on Wednesday, the lowest he's hit since his first four major leagues games in May of 2012.
But despite any and all concerns, it was inevitable that an extra-base hit was coming, and it came in a big way against Miami Marlins left-hander Brad Hand.
On the 10th pitch of a remarkable battle, Harper turned on and launched Hand's 94-mph fastball into the upper deck at Nationals Park in Washington. The only question was whether or not it would stay fair. A question that couldn't be answered immediately because the baseball actually cleared the foul pole completely, but after a quick review it was ruled fair for a three-run homer, which at the time trimmed Miami's lead to 5-3.
An official estimation of the distance has yet to be announced, perhaps because no tape measure reaches that part of Nationals Park, but it could give Giancarlo Stanton's 484-foot blast over the weekend in Miami a run for its money. Ironically, Stanton was standing in right field watching as Harper's moon shot sailed over his head and left a dent in an empty seat.
As for the big picture, sometimes all it takes is one good at-bat and one good swing to get on track. Harper hopes that one good at-bat and swing came on Wednesday night.
His girlfriend, Kayla Varner, certainly believes that will be the case.
If true, it could prove to be one of the biggest swings of the season for Washington. With that said, it actually wasn't the most important of the evening. Jayson Werth's go-ahead grand slam in the eighth is what finally cemented their 10-7 victory and pushed their record 6-2.
Yes, 6-2. Kind of a scary thought, isn't it? If Harper starts heating up now, this could be a big April in D.C.
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