Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker doesn’t plan to change his lineup after reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper reached base seven times without recording a single hit on Sunday.   

“I thought about it hard and long, but a few days doesn’t merit you switching it up,” Baker said, per Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. “If he had gotten one hit one of those times, you wouldn’t be asking me this today. Not yet.”

The Chicago Cubs walked Harper 13 times during their four-game series against the Nationals, with six of them coming in Washington’s 4-3 loss Sunday in 13 innings. Harper went 1-for-4 in the series with one RBI.

The Las Vegas native has hit 10 home runs and bats third in the lineup. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is normally the cleanup hitter, but the veteran has batted .236 this year.

Baker was also asked about moving the newly acquired Daniel Murphy to the No. 4 spot. Murphy leads Washington with 45 hits and is batting .395, but having a left-handed bat follow the left-handed Harper could cause issues late in games, according to Baker.

“What happens if I switch it up against this team, and they have three left-handed relievers in the bullpen, and they can bring in their lefties to take care of my two guys that are hot in the fifth, seventh and ninth, and only use three guys out of their bullpen?” Baker said, per Janes.

The Nationals came into Monday at 19-12 and trailing the New York Mets by a half-game in the National League East. It’s too early for Baker to consider a lineup change since the one he has currently resulted in wins, and Harper won’t be walked six times every game.

If it becomes a constant issue, then Baker should consider moving Murphy up just to ensure instant offense near the top of the lineup. Zimmerman’s struggles at the plate have been well-documented the last two years, and he’s not a capable run producer at this stage in his career anymore. 


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

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