WASHINGTON (AP) By the time Bryce Harper gets to the plate at the All-Star Game, Max Scherzer could already be done.
Harper is batting sixth in his fifth All-Star start, the lowest he has been in the National League lineup since the No. 9 spot in 2013. Scherzer getting the start against Boston's Chris Sale is no surprise as the hometown ace, but Harper faces a much different dynamic knowing this could be the final time he's honored on a big stage by Nationals fans when he trots out to center field on Tuesday night.
In a contract year that could be his last with Washington, Harper is hitting .214 with a .365 on-base percentage, .468 slugging percentage, 23 home runs and 54 RBIs. That batting average is 60 points lower than the next-closest NL All-Star hitter, while his HR total is one shy of the league lead.
WASHINGTON (AP) The pending trade of Manny Machado by the Baltimore Orioles has become the center of attraction at the All-Star Game.
Machado was mobbed by his locker before the game Tuesday night. The questions were derived from speculation that Machado will be headed out of Baltimore before the Orioles resume play Friday in Toronto.
WASHINGTON (AP) The ball cleared the center field wall, and the sellout crowd roared. Bryce Harper threw his bat in the air, thrust both index fingers skyward and yelled with delight as a shower of streamers rained upon the crowd of 43,698.
It could have been a scene from a playoff game. That it was merely the All-Star Home Run Derby mattered not to Harper or the Washington Nationals fans, who were thrilled to see their hometown hero deliver the night's final longball Monday.
WASHINGTON (AP) In decades past they would have been given nicknames like "Pee Wee" and coached to shorten their swings, keep the ball close to the ground, find holes and use their speed to leg out base hits.
Now, "small ball" has a new meaning. This homer-happy era of baseball is proving that big sluggers can be found in in tiny packages.
DENVER (AP) The "Holy Grail" of baseball cards, a pristine 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle valued at several million dollars, was delivered to the History Colorado Center on Monday via armored truck for a 72-hour public display.
"I want the community to enjoy looking at the card," said its owner, retired lawyer Marshall Fogel of Denver. "It's the finest card ever made, and it just happens to be my favorite player, Mickey Mantle."