A sharply hit ball up the middle, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun and third base coach Ed Sedar didn’t seem to hesitate. Down a run to the Washington Nationals in the fourth inning Friday, Braun flew around third and tired to score on Aramis Ramirez’s single.
Except the ball was hit to center fielder Bryce Harper. Harper had all his momentum moving forward as he picked it up and fired a laser toward catcher Jesus Flores standing in front of home plate. The throw probably couldn’t have been any better, and Braun was out.
“I just picked it up and threw it. It’s what you do,” Harper said. “I didn’t even know where Braun was. I was just trying to throw him out, and I got him.
Not bad for a converted catcher.
“That was a great throw. I felt like that was the play that left it up to me to finish the inning strong,” starting pitcher Edwin Jackson said. “They score that run it’s a tie game. It’s a different situation. That play was huge for us to definitely keep the momentum in the game.”
Harper understated the play, understandably after a gut-wrenching 4-2 loss that all came together in the ninth inning. But it wasn’t just one remarkable throw; this was the 19-year-old’s eighth outfield assist of the season, best among National League rookies.
It seems like Harper’s development as a multi-talented outfielder has happened rapidly.
“You just throw the ball and try to get people out,” he said.
But don’t think folks are noticing Harper’s arm. Two batters later as Ramirez rounded third on Jonathan Lucroy’s single, Sedar threw up a stop sign that might as well have had neon lights on it.
“They held him,” Jackson said. “I end up being able to get a double play to get out of the inning.”