Nationals outfielder, righty first teammates to earn distinction since 2008
By Cash Kruth
To the shock of no one, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper on Wednesday was named the National League Player of the Month after his prodigious May. And as "Mad Max" was at his best on the mound, Washington right-hander Max Scherzer was honored by being named NL Pitcher of the Month.
Harper and Scherzer are the first teammates to win Player and Pitcher of the Month honors in the same month since Milwaukee's Ryan Braun and CC Sabathia in July 2008.
Harper led the Majors with 13 home runs, an .884 slugging percentage and tied two others -- Braun and Texas' Prince Fielder -- for the most RBIs, with 28. The 22-year-old also led the NL in on-base percentage (.495) and runs (24) while ranking among the league leaders in batting average (.360, third) and total bases (76, second).
Harper's 13 homers set a Nats team record for most home runs in a month, eclipsing the 12 Alfonso Soriano launched in May 2006.
Harper's hot streak coincided with the Nationals going 18-8 in May; he drove in six game-winning runs and six of the go-ahead variety.
Among Harper's 13 homers, six -- and 12 RBIs -- came in a three-game stretch from May 6-9. On May 6, Harper became the 10th-youngest player in Major League history to hit three homers in a game.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other players since 1920 to hit six homers with 12 RBIs in a three-game span are Hall of Famers Tony Lazzeri (1936) and Ralph Kiner ('47), as well as Manny Ramirez ('98) and Shawn Green (2002).
Scherzer went 5-1 with a 1.67 ERA and a Major League-leading 56 strikeouts in 43 innings over six May starts.
Scherzer's ERA ranked fourth among qualifying NL pitchers and was the lowest among all Major Leaguers who pitched at 40 innings. He also held opponents to a .208 average and eight runs (all earned) over those six starts, all of which lasted at least seven innings.
This is the first career Pitcher of the Month award for Scherzer, whose teammate Drew Storen also was considered.
Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.