Bryce Harper is a complete baseball player. Sometimes that gets overlooked when we focus on his epic home runs or talk about his most recent run-in with an opponent, an umpire or even Nationals management. But he can truly do it all on the field.
That was evidenced again on Saturday afternoon when Harper unleashed one of the best throws you’ll see this season to temporarily keep the Washington Nationals in their game against the Texas Rangers.
The great throw happened in the ninth inning. Texas had already rallied to score twice in the inning, which tied the game. With runners on second and third and nobody out, Robinson Chirinos hit a fly ball to Harper in right field that appeared plenty deep enough to score the go-ahead run.
But Harper said not so fast.
After making the grab, he fired a near-perfect one-hop throw to the plate to nab a sliding Pete Kozma.
— MLB (@MLB) June 10, 2017
The throw was measured at 98.2 mph, which is about as hard as one can reasonably expect an outfielder to throw a baseball.
Bryce Harper's throw was tracked at 98.2 MPH. He's got a good arm.
— Daren Willman (@darenw) June 10, 2017
Well, unless that outfielder’s name is Aaron Hicks.
Of course, there was a little bit of drama attached to the play. Kozma was actually ruled safe initially. However, replays showed that his left cleat got stuck in the dirt preventing his foot from touching home plate.
One of the weirder plays at the plate ever. Kozma got there in time but his cleat got stuck *in front* of the plate; called out after replay pic.twitter.com/6zDTVJdZDq
— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) June 10, 2017
Without that glitch, Harper’s throw may have lost some luster. But it was still mighty impressive.
Unfortunately for the Nationals, they couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity afforded them.
After wasting a quality scoring chance in their half of the ninth, Robinson Chirinos got some revenge by launching a go-ahead three-run homer in the 11th. That held up as the difference in the Rangers 6-3 win.
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