A golden sombrero for Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper, the Nationals’ 19-year-old outfield phenom, struck out four times in today’s 11-7 loss to the Detroit Tigers. As such, per baseball lingo, he is said to be in possession of the dreaded Golden Sombrero.

Harper’s K’s went like this: swinging against RHP Doug Fister in the second, looking against Fister in the third, looking against LHP Duane Below in the fifth and swinging against RHP Jose Ortega in the seventh.

As he came to the plate again in the ninth, a fan behind home plate shouted, “Five strikeouts in one game! C’mon, Bryce, you can do it!” And Harper responded by drilling a first-pitch fastball from lefty Matt Hoffman over the center fielder’s head for a double.

The rough afternoon has dropped Harper's batting average this spring from .304 to .286, with 11 strikeouts in 28 at-bats.

For the sake of context, in all of 2011 there were only four instances when a Nationals batter struck out four times in a nine-inning game.

Dave Sheinin has been covering baseball and writing features and enterprise stories for The Washington Post since 1999.

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