“He’s got all this stuff going on,” Martinez said. “He doesn’t get many days off, so I thought this was a good opportunity.”
Harper appeared in all but one of the Nationals’ first 95 games, coming off the bench in one other. Barring a pinch-hit appearance Sunday, he will head to the break with a .214 average, .833 OPS, 23 homers and 54 RBI. He is tied for third among the team’s hitters in Fangraphs’ Wins Above Replacement with 1.5 — the same number as Juan Soto and Matt Adams. Anthony Rendon (3.1) and Trea Turner (2.8) lead the team.
Daniel Murphy will also rest Sunday after playing three days in a row in this series. Martinez said the Nationals hope to keep him on that schedule, and must be aware of his still-recovering knee. Murphy has hit .289 with a .780 OPS over his last 15 games, .444 over his last seven.
Gio Gonzalez will be available out of the bullpen Sunday, as he will miss his turn through the rotation because of the break. Gonzalez would have been on turn to pitch Monday, and while Martinez said he would rather not need the lefty in relief of Jeremy Hellickson on Sunday, he will have that option.
He should not need him, however. The Nationals added a fresh arm to their bullpen Sunday when they optioned Austin Voth to Class AAA Syracuse after his major league debut Saturday and recalled Trevor Gott. Voth allowed seven runs in 4 1/3 innings Saturday, showing promise but not perfection. He struggled during his third trip through the Mets’ lineup and said afterward he knows he needs to fine-tune things before he can work effectively through a big league lineup multiple times.
WASHINGTON NATIONALS (47-48)