Matt Williams started the season by batting Bryce Harper in the number 5 hole in the attempt to get him more at bats with runners on base. I thought this was a fantastic idea at the time because weirdness surrounds Bryce Harper and runners on base. Last year despite playing most the year on a pretty good team, he was 168th in at bats with runners on base. Guys who led that category had over 300 ABs while Harper had only 168 (yes the count and ranking are the same.) There are lots of different reasons for this, hitting #2 or #3 in the order in front of a guy like Denard Span who had a low OBPs for a leadoff hitter might be a start. Span batting lead off had 200 at bats with runners on base even through he hit after the pitcher and was guaranteed at least one at bat with the bases empty a game.
I bring this up, because on Thursday, the Nats left 30 runners on base in the game against the Padres. In 6 at bats, in an extra inning game Harper never came up with anyone on base; it is almost as if the gods of RBI have put a curse on him. If he was batting 2nd he would have had 6 runners on base like Rendon did, if he was batting 5th he would have had 4 runners like Desmond did. Jose Lobaton batting 8th was able to strand 4 batters himself. This year he is ranked 121 in baseball in at bats with runners on base. If the Nats want to win and score more runs they need to get one of the best hitters in baseball at bats with runners on base. Maybe move Harper up in the order behind guys who get on base, or cut off the head of chicken…just brainstorming here.