COLLEGE PARK, Maryland — Nationals superstar Bryce Harper returned to Washington’s lineup on Tuesday night, just in time for the playoffs.
The 2015 National League MVP has been out since Aug. 12 after he slipped on first base and suffered a bone bruise in his left knee. After a down year by his standards in 2016, Harper had returned to the top of NL leaderboards in numerous offensive statistics before his injury. With him on the disabled list, the Nationals lineup saw a precipitous drop in production.
Before Harper’s injury, the Nationals’ lineup boasted the third-best On-Base Plus Slugging (OPS) in baseball. In the 42 games Harper missed, Washington ranked 28th.
The drop in production has been particularly pronounced in right field, Harper’s usual spot, where the Nationals have started seven different players since his injury.
The Nationals rightfielders rank last in all of baseball in On-Base Percentage (OBP), OPS and Isolated Slugging (ISO) since Harper’s injury. Prior to getting hurt, Harper led all qualified MLB rightfielders in OBP and OPS while ranking fifth in ISO.
In his first game back in the lineup, Harper went 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout as the Nationals lost 4-1 to the Philadelphia Phillies.