Bryce Harper's second-half struggles continued on Monday night against Atlanta with only one hit in five trips to the plate, the last of which left him so furious that he took out his frustrations on his bat.
With two outs and a man on first in the bottom of the 11th, the 19-year-old evened the count at 1-1 after two fastballs from Braves reliever Luis Avilan. Then Avilan offered up two curveballs in the high 70s, getting Harper to take big hacks and miss them both. Immediately after strike three, Harper slammed his bat to the ground and broke it in half.
Washington went on to win 5-4 in 13 innings.
The Nats' phenom hasn't been very phenomenal lately. He is batting a mere .212 in the month of August and from July 13 to August 12, he only batted an abysmal .174. It did look as if Harper was on his way out of the slump in Washington's previous series against the New York Mets (two home runs, one triple and four RBI). But the first of a three-game series against Atlanta was a different story.
Fortunately for the Nationals, Harper's slump hasn't had much of an impact on the standings. After Monday's win, Washington is still sitting atop the NL East standings at 76-46, which also happens to be the best record in all of baseball.