Newest update at top:
10:54, TOP 7: Adam LaRoche drilled a home run, hooking a 3-1 pitch around the right field foul pole. The Nationals lead, 1-0
10:22, MID 5: Bryce Harper showed off his ridiculous bat speed, but remained hitless in his second at-bat. With Rick Ankiel on first after a single, Harper unleashed on a 71-mph breaking ball from Billingsley, but he didn’t stay back quite long enough and scorched it foul to the right side. He took two more balls, then lofted a 2-1 changeup to left field for the second out.
Wilson Ramos grounded out to the end the inning. It’s 0-0, as Strasburg is cruising along.
10:00, TOP 3: Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond nearly collided on a bloop by Tony Gywnn Jr. to shallow left. Nothing either of them could really do.
Strasburg made sure it didn’t matter, striking out Matt Kemp looking at a fastball over the outside corner. Strasburg dominated the early-season MVP tonight.
9:38, END 2: Bryce Harper began his major league career with a groundball back to the pitcher.
The second inning began with Harper due up third. He paced the Nationals dugout with his helmet on and his bat in his hands. He grabbed a cup of water and spilled it all over his hands. After he dried off his batting gloves, he walked to the on-deck circle.
Only Danny Espinosa separated Harper from his maiden at-bat. Espinosa struck out, and Harper removed the batting donut from his black Marrucci. The public address announcer blared, “Coming to the plate, making his major league debut, left fielder, No. 34, Bryce Harper.” The crowd responded with a loud mix of boos and cheers, mostly boos.
Hands cocked his behind his ear, Harper dug in against Chad Billingsley. He took a 91-mph fastball for strike one, and catcher A.J. Ellis rolled the ball out of play. Harper looked at two more fastballs inside for balls. Billingsley threw an 88-mph changeup, and Harper chopped it on one hop it back to Billingsley.
Harper bolted down the line, but Billingsley made the easy play. Harper took of his helmet and gloves and chatted for a moment with first base coach Trent Jewett. Shortstop Ian Desmond brought him his hat glove, and Harper jogged out to left field to start the rest of his career.
With one out in the bottom of the second, Jerry Hairston hit a shallow fly to left, and Harper made an easy, running catch.
9:23, MID 1: Stephen Strasburg got out of the first inning by inducing a 5-4-3 double play out of Matt Kemp. Strasburg pitched mainly with his fastball, hitting between 96 and 98 miles per hour. (He hit 100 on the Dodger Stadium gun, but that’s a little hot.) Bryce Harper is due up third in the second.
PREGAME: As the first pitch neared, Bryce Harper signed autographs for dans in the first rows along the right field line. Meanwhile, Stephen Strasburg walked past him, coming in from the bullpen. We’ll have updates here of Bryce Harper’s at-bats. Follow along and discuss the game below.