09/27/12 6:33 PM ET
Werth has no hard feelings about Philly
By Joey Nowak / MLB.com
The Nationals' outfielder has been booed all season by the same fans who cheered him for during four years in Philadelphia, where he was an All-Star in 2009 and helped lead the Phillies to the World Series title in 2008.
Those jeers peaked in decibel level Wednesday night when Werth feigned throwing a foul ball into the first-base stands before dropping it into the dugout. As he strolled to the plate moments later in a one-run game in the ninth, the fans let him have it.
Werth told his side of the story after the game.
"Well, earlier in the game, I flipped a ball in the seats in right field to a fan, and it bounced off her hands and landed on somebody else's lap, and then a Phillies fan reached over into her lap, grabbed the ball and threw it back on the field," Werth said.
"In the ninth, when I got the ball, I was going to flip the ball to a group of kids, and behind the kids were these unruly middle-aged men that, to me, appeared to be snarling. And it's the ninth. Who knows. I kind of got the sense that maybe they were intoxicated, but maybe not.
"So I was going to flip it to the kids, and then I thought maybe I shouldn't because of the people right behind those innocent little children there, so I just flipped it into the dugout, and evidently that rubbed some people the wrong way. But after the events in right field, I just felt that it was better to maybe not throw it into the stands."
Werth appears to relish the villain role after departing the Phillies in December 2010 to join the up-and-coming Nationals. He delivered a two-RBI hit in that at-bat Wednesday and seems to have gotten the last laugh as the Nats are on the brink of clinching the National League East while the Phils are on the brink of elimination. The Phillies have won the previous five NL East titles.
"Jayson thrives on that kind of stuff. When it's all stacked up against him, he comes through," shortstop Ian Dessmond said. "I think when they started going it got his heart beating a little bit. I think it locked him in a little more."
Werth has not played great at Citizens Bank Park this year -- he entered Thursday batting .200 with 10 strikeouts, five more than at any other road park -- but that hit was one of his biggest in a Nationals uniform. And he says the reception he received isn't enough to make him forget the times he had in Philadelphia.
"It's really just part of playing in Philadelphia," Werth said. "That's what makes it great. I had a lot of fun here. I had a lot of good times and wouldn't trade those for the world. I've got a lot of respect for those guys over there. True professionals. Guys I've played some big games with, won some big games with. Got a lot of respect for those guys."
Praise for Harper as solid debut winds down
PHILADELPHIA -- Davey Johnson says Bryce Harper would be his National League Rookie of the Year Award winner, and the more milestones the youngster continues to rack up, the better the case he makes.
Harper has become the first teenager to hit at least 17 home runs (he has 20) and steal 17 bases in a season, eclipsing Ken Griffey Jr.'s 16/16 feat. Only Tony Conigliaro has hit more home runs (24) before his 20th birthday. Harper turns 20 on Oct. 16.
"I like those 93 runs a lot better," Harper said of his home run milestones. "Getting on base for all these guys, just getting on base and letting them get those RBIs and whatnot, and get those Ws. As long as we get those Ws at the end of the night, that's all that matters to me. And as we get deep into October, that's huge also."
More than becoming a 20/20 player, Harper said, he'd like to reach the 100-run plateau. The only player to score more than 93 runs in a season as a teenager was Buddy Lewis, who scored 100 with the Washington Senators in 1936.
"Nothing really amazes me with him," shortstop Ian Desmond said. "Regardless of all the home runs, the great throws, things like that, he impacts the baseball game every single day, whether it's on the basepaths, everything. Nothing surprises me with him. I think he's got the brightest future, and he's a good kid. That makes it so much better."
Metro to offer extended hours for Nats' playoffs
PHILADELPHIA -- The Metropolitan Area Transit Authority announced Thursday that the Metro train in Washington will run for extended hours during the playoffs to accommodate fans getting home from Nationals Park.
Metro announced Thursday that it signed an agreement with LivingSocial, an online-deals company based in Washington, to offer late-night Metrorail service for playoff games this fall.
"LivingSocial is in the business of creating great local experiences, and we want to be sure D.C. fans can enjoy the city's first baseball playoffs in 79 years without worrying about how they will get home," LivingSocial CEO Tim O'Shaughnessy said in a statement. "D.C. is our hometown, and we love this city. This is just a small way to say thanks to our local customers, merchants, and employees for making Washington such a great place for us to live, work, and grow."
LivingSocial will underwrite at least one hour, and up to two hours, of extended service for all rides originating from the nearby Navy Yard-Ballpark station after home evening postseason games in October and November. According to the Washington Post, the deal hinged on LivingSocial putting down a $29,500 deposit required by the Metro to keep the trains running for an extra hour. The company will receive reimbursement for a portion or all of those costs based on the ridership during the extra time.