- - Monday, September 10, 2018

The second half of the season keeps getting better for Bryce Harper, the Nationals slugging outfielder.

The soon-to-be free agent was named National League Player of the Week Monday, after he was 7-for-16 with two doubles, two homers, seven RBI, 12 walks with six runs in six games last week.

Harper reached base in seven of eight trips to the plate in a doubleheader sweep Saturday against the Chicago Cubs at Nationals Park. His homer in the seventh inning of the nightcap gave Washington the lead on a rainy night in D.C. The game on Sunday was rained out and will be made up Thursday at 4:05 p.m. against the Cubs in Washington.

The Las Vegas native was hitting .251 with an OPS of .599 going into Monday’s game in Philadelphia. He had 28 doubles, 32 homers and 91 RBI. Harper was the NL MVP in 2015, the last time the Nationals did not make the playoffs.

It is the ninth time this year a Nationals player was named the player of the week. Other position players to get the honor have been first basemen Ryan Zimmerman and Mark Reynolds and outfielders Juan Soto and Adam Eaton.

Pitcher Max Scherzer has won the award three times this year. It was the first honor of the year for Harper, while left fielder Soto has been named twice.

But even with individual success, the Nationals are 71-72 and eight games back of first-place Atlanta in the National League East going into the series in Philadelphia (74-68) against the second-place Phillies.

The Phillies have lost 17 of their last 26 games while the Nationals are just 16-18 since Aug. 1.

Erick Fedde (1-3, 6.00) is slated to pitch Monday for the Nationals against Jake Arrieta (10-9, 3.61) of the Phillies. Tanner Roark (8-15, 4.23) is scheduled to start Tuesday for Washington, with fellow right-hander Stephen Strasburg (7-7, 4.04) on tap for his 19th start of the year Wednesday against the Phillies.

Scherzer is on track to start Thursday against the Cubs.

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