Series Preview: vs Washington Nationals

PHI: 21-21, 5th in NL East; WAS: 24-17, 2nd in NL East

When: May 21-23
Where: Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia, PA)

Probable Pitchers
Monday: Kyle Kendrick (0-3, 5.96) vs Gio Gonzalez (5-1, 2.22)
Tuesday: Roy Halladay (4-3, 3.22) vs Jordan Zimmerman (2-4, 2.58)
Wednesday: Cole Hamels (6-1, 2.48) vs Edwin Jackson (1-1, 3.31)

Broadcast Info
Monday, 7:05, CSN
Tuesday, 7:05, CSN
Wednesday, 7:05, CSN
All Games on 94.1 FM

Yahoo! posted a picture of Bryce Harper that looks like it was taken by a fan in the nosebleeds. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images or the 400 level)

Player to Watch – OF Bryce Harper: Heck, if the whole world is focusing on him, why not us, right? But despite all the rage about this 19-year-old who was the center of a conflict with Cole Hamels two weeks ago, he’s only hitting .244 with two homers and seven RBIs in 21 games this season. Yea, he’s the player to watch according to ESPN.

Series Overview: The Nationals lead the season series, 2-1 and are currently 3.5 games ahead of the Phillies in the NL East standings.

Washington was billing their first meeting to be a battle between two rivalries. But the Phillies didn’t seem all too interested.

That was until Cole Hamels decided to hit Bryce Harper with a pitch, admitting after the game he did it to welcome the rookie to the big leagues. Everyone and their mothers sounded off and the Phillies officially threw their hat in the ring to call this a rivalry.

Not much has changed since that series. The Phillies are at .500 and five games out of first place. But it isn’t the Nationals who are in first place, probably taking some of the pressure off the Phillies heading into this series.

Now with Washington coming to Philadelphia, Harper knows he will be getting a fair share of boos. He did make one small request of the locals when he’s on the field:

“Hopefully I get a couple boos,” he said. “I’m excited to get up there and play. Hopefully they don’t throw any batteries at me.”

Not-so nice things could be said on this blog about Harper but that will be refrained from…

Okay, I lied, since this is America, there’s a First Amendment and I have a blog:

I’m going to be like the rest of the world and talk about Harper because apparently he’s God’s gift to baseball while hitting .244. Yet, a certain kid from Millville, NJ named Mike Trout is on an All-Star tear and getting a quarter of the attention.

Seriously though, who deemed Harper the next big thing? Was it the agents of Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin, tired of their undeserving “stars” getting all the national attention? Was it Nats GM Mike Rizzo, who is ever so desperate for his team to garner all the attention in baseball after a decade of mediocrity?

Or was it Harper himself, who can’t legally raise a beer to his lips let alone deserve to be the star of the NL East.

Look, the kid is good and will no doubtedly be killing the Phillies for his very long career. But just shut up and earn it. That’s all I ask.

Chase Utley earned it, Ryan Howard earned it and it took World Series MVP and top 5 Cy Young finalist Cole Hamels to hit Bryce Christ in the back to earn it.

Harper will “earn” it soon. But now, just be a rookie.

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