Zeroic: Harper feat not seen in 100 years!
Nats' star first in modern history to score 4 runs with 4 walks, 1 RBI
WASHINGTON -- Bryce Harper's bat is one of baseball's most feared weapons, but on Thursday night at Nationals Park, the slugger's lumber was just one more observer.
Harper put together a performance unlike any other in Major League history in the Nationals' 15-1 win over the Braves, reaching base four times and scoring four runs, all without an official at-bat.
His final batting line -- zero at-bats, zero hits, four runs, one RBI and four walks -- was truly unique. It's the first time in modern history that a hitter has drawn at least four walks and scored four runs and driven in a run without a hit or an at-bat.
"I've got confidence in everybody on our team to get a job done behind me," said Harper, who was removed in the sixth inning of the blowout after watching his walk total jump to 104 for the season. "I'll take my walks when I can. And when they throw the ball over the plate, I'll take my hits, too."
But if getting on base was a result of Harper's patience, the runs he scored were a product of the players behind him.
First baseman Ryan Zimmerman is 17-for-42 (.404) with 23 RBIs in his last 11 games, and he had three hits and four RBIs on Thursday.
"That's why Bryce didn't swing at a pitch and scored four runs," manager Matt Williams said. "There's your proof in the pudding right there."
Harper joins Rickey Henderson, Joe Morgan and Larry Doby on an exclusive list of players to go 0-for-0 with at least four runs and walks.
"He's taking the steps necessary to make himself the player he wants to be, knowing that he's got to be aggressive in the strike zone," Williams said. "If they throw him one to hit in a situation where he can drive a baseball or get a knock or get on there for us, he's ready to do that."
On Thursday, the Braves didn't throw him one to hit. Harper saw 20 pitches from three pitchers in his four at-bats, and the bat stayed put on his shoulder for all 20. According to ESPN Stats & Info, it was the second-most pitches without a swing in a game in the past 10 seasons (Juan Uribe, 21, 2010).
"I've done it before," Harper said about having a bat in his hands but never using it. "I've done it in high school. I've done it in college. I've done it when I was like 10 years old. It's part of the game."
A four-walk, four-run game is rare enough on its own. Harper was the most recent player to put together such a line, having done so on Aug. 18 against the Rockies, and Thursday night was just the 52nd time it's ever happened.
Furthermore, Harper is the first player since at least 1914 to score four or more runs in a game without having a hit twice in one season. Only two other players, Morgan and Jim Gilliam, have done so twice in a career.
"He's been doing it all year," outfielder Clint Robinson said. "He's talked about it a lot, saying, 'I'm not going to get away from my approach, and I'm going to take what they give me.' That's what a good hitter does. The good thing about Bryce is he's patient, but when they do come in the zone, he does damage on it."