The Chicago Cubs have had a very tough time recently. They dropped Thursday's game against the Washington Nationals, which sealed them on the losing end of a four-game sweep and put them into a six-game losing streak overall. They allowed 31 runs over the four games against Washington, and a big part of that was 19-year-old Bryce Harper.
Harper had a triple and reached base on his second at-bat on Thursday and he had two homers in the first three games of the series. He also was part of the bench-clearing incident on Thursday, when Lendy Castillo almost hit Harper with a pitch. Harper yelled at him and both benches cleared.
One Cubs player doesn't think Harper was out of line. Anthony Rizzo first said that Castillo wasn't trying to hit Harper, but said he understood what Harper was feeling, according to a piece from the Chicago Tribune:
"I don't think he was over the top at all," he said. "Things escalated. Bryce, it wasn't like he was running his mouth or saying anything. "He plays this game the right way. He plays hard. He's real exciting to watch. Playing against him, you have to contain him."
The second half of that is very complimentary at this point, especially considering the whole four-game sweep thing. It's all true though: Harper is a very good player and he's only 19 years old. There's no shame in a guy like him beating up on your starting pitching. It's also good to see honesty coming from Cubs players and their ability to recognize a guy with a lot of talent on the upswing.
For more on this series, check out Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue. Follow Baseball Nationfor all your up-to-date MLB news and analysis.