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The Cubs and Nationals played a four-game series over the weekend, and it did not go well for Washington. They began the series in first place in the NL East, 1.5 games up on the Mets, and finished the weekend half-a-game out. A large part of the problem was that Bryce Harper just didn't do much of anything during the series: He had just one hit over the four games, as well as a sac fly. This wasn't Harper's fault, though, as over the entirety of the series, the Nationals' star had just four at-bats despite playing in every game. Of the 19 plate appearances Harper amassed this weekend, he walked 13 times and didn't record a single at-bat over the last two games.
Those 13 walks are a record for the most ever in a four-game series. That's not the only record Harper came away with this weekend, either. On Sunday, he reached base seven times, with six walks and one hit by pitch. Those six walks tied a record, and reaching seven times made him the fourth player in history to do so. He's the first player in the last 100 years to make it on base seven times without recording an at-bat or a hit.
Records are fun and all, but these are mostly trivial: The Nats couldn't take a single game against the Cubs, who seem unstoppable at the moment, and you know that's what Harper and Co. care about on Monday morning. What we saw was that the Nationals' lineup is a lot more vulnerable when Harper isn't in it. That's an obvious statement, but it's also one other teams are sure to notice after the Cubs pointed it out repeatedly over the course of four games. The Nationals are talented, but they might need to make some changes to the lineup so that skipping Harper isn't such an easy decision for the rest of the league as it was for the Cubs.
- A possum ran onto the field and caused a delay during an Arkansas/LSU college baseball game.
- The Blue Jays get a chance to face some bad pitching this week, and they need to take advantage.
- There is a Royals championship mural hanging in the visitor's clubhouse of Minute Maid Park for some reason.
- The Red Sox don't have the top farm system in the minors, but they do have the most talented team in it thanks to a High-A squad featuring Yoan Moncada and much, much more.
- Firing Brad Ausmus would be pointless given the far more significant issues plaguing the Tigers.
- Jose Reyes saw the domestic violence charges against him dropped since his wife was an uncooperative witness, but there is now a report stating that he could be suspended for at least 60 games by Major League Baseball.
- Bud Black was the first name to be mentioned as a potential replacement for Fredi Gonzalez in Atlanta, and now Torey Lovullo, Red Sox bench coach, has seen his name pop up.
- For now, though, the Braves are reportedly going to give Gonzalez a little more time now that Ender Inciarte is back in the lineup and the schedule has softened. If he can't turn things around during that stretch, well, you know how this will end.
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