21-year-old Bryce Harper hasn’t started a game lower than fifth in the lineup since the first four games of his career. On Wednesday night, first-year manager Matt Williams decided to plug the young face of baseball into the sixth spot.
Williams’ explanation to The Washington Post was, um, perplexing. Williams said that he wants to take a little bit of pressure off of Harper and allow him to use his legs more, which seems a little counterintuitive. Williams suggested that Harper doesn’t get the green light to steal as often hitting in front of Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman, so they don’t lose opportunities to hit two-run or three-run homers.
Instead, now they’ll still lose run-scoring opportunities with Harper batting sixth, because the new guy hitting in front of Werth and Zimmerman will not be as good as Harper — Anthony Rendon on Wednesday night — and they could actually be adding pressure to Harper by asking him to run more. No pressure, but we want you to take a bit of a demotion and also do more for the team. ‘That’s the logic.’
Not sure anybody’s buying that, rookie skip.