BOSTON — Bryce Harper favors action over stagnancy, the inclination of youth, and by late Sunday afternoon he could wait no longer. He had blown bubbles and watched for six innings, a foreign experience after 37 games in the major leagues. He marched down the tunnel and straight toward Manager Davey Johnson and told him he was fine. He then repeated himself: I’m fine.
“He made that point very clear,” Johnson said.
When they want something known, these Washington Nationals are unmistakable. Johnson inserted Harper two innings later, after the Nationals and Boston Red Sox had played to a draw for eight innings. In minutes, the 19-year-old flash of energy decided the outcome. Harper dashed around the bases on Roger Bernadina’s game-winning, two-out double in the ninth inning, giving the Nationals a 4-3 victory at Fenway Park to cap a resounding weekend. [...]
“I know we’ve shown the baseball world what kind of team we are,” closer Tyler Clippard said. “This was kind of a statement series for us in doing that. They’re definitely a good club, and I think we’re better. I think we’re a lot better. We feel really good with what we’ve got going on right now.”
In another corner of the Nationals’ clubhouse, the statement-sweep notion did not sit well with second baseman Danny Espinosa. For him, their record means they don’t need to measure themselves against anyone; their opposition must measure themselves against the Nationals.
“I think we were the team to beat right here,” Espinosa said. “We’re the first-place team.”