Bell hit 86 home runs and drove in 309 runs during his five years with the Pirates, and in the sixth inning of Friday night’s game he proved his comfort in the Pittsburgh batters box by hitting a solo home run to extend Washington’s lead to 3-1.
However that lead would not stand up for long: Pirates MLBbro Anthony Alford answered Bell’s bomb with a homer of his own to cut the deficit to one, then later on in the game, their young phenom Ke’Bryan Hayes sent folks home happy with the first walk off hit of his career.
During the weekend series Bell was 3-for-9 with five walks, two runs and that home run as his Nationals could only salvage one win out of the three games.
Bell finished third in Rookie of the Year voting in 2017 and was named as an All-Star for the Pirates in 2019. That year he hit .277 with career highs in home runs, average, OPS, slugging percentage, hits, doubles and runs.
Josh Bell has hit 25 HRs in a season for the 3rd time in his @MLB career.
That year was also Bell’s second time homering 25 or more times for the Pirates, and with him already passing that mark this season, he became just the second player in Major League history to hit 25 home runs for the Nationals/ Montreal Expos and the Pirates joining former first baseman Adam LaRoche.
Bell is one of the few pieces that stayed in Washington after their fire sale during the trade deadline. His year started off slow as he only hit .113 for the month of April and has been fighting to rise the average ever since.
“I feel good as of late,” said Bell to reporters before Friday night’s game. “I had a really rough start that I had to work my way out of. Thank God it wasn’t a 60-game season again. I kind of turned things around.”
He signed a one-year deal with the Nationals this offseason and is now batting .253 with 26 home runs, a .813 OPS and 81 RBI.
He has definitely earned himself a payday after this season whether he gets it in D.C. or with a new franchise.
Bell is now chasing the 30-homer mark during this final month of the season. Showing those numbers during contract negotiations can only help his cause.
This week he and his Nationals will take on the “Bahamian Blur” Jazz Chisholm Jr. and the Miami Marlins.
In Thursday’s afternoon matinee at Nationals Park, two Black Knights got the party started but only one carried a big stick. While Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen scored the first run of the game in the top of the first, Washington’s Josh Bell arguably made the biggest statement with a blast heading towards the Pentagon as it left the stadium.
Bell, who has been slow to recover at the plate from COVID-19 which delayed his start to the season, followed Kyle Schwarber with his own two-run first-inning blast in a four-run first inning which gave Patrick Corbin all he needed to help Washington snap its four-game losing streak with a 5-1 win.
Rarely does a single early May at-bat set the tone for a season but this had the feel of a James Brown moment for the Nats’ first baseman.
Bell had been drawing the ire of talk show hosts on their flagship station inside the District after failing to deliver in a clutch late-inning at-bat one night earlier. He entered the game hitting .202 (17-for-84, 3 home runs) all-time against the Phillies.
“To be able to simplify, work through some things mechanically and have it click that first pitch, I was really stoked,” Bell said. “That was by far the best swing of the year — the most connected, the most behind it, best ball flight for sure. Hopefully, more to come.”
An early wake-up call and the afternoon start was the perfect tonic to help Washington’s prized offseason acquisition make his statement before the team headed to Arizona for the start of a west coast road trip.
Bell, who never seems stressed during his media availability sessions, looked like the pressure of finding his offense was finally getting to him Wednesday night.
He was caught by one of those baseball moments where the fickle hand of fate put him on blast. Bell had a chance to deliver in a pinch-hit situation but struck out with the bases loaded in the seventh inning as the Nationals lost 6-2 in 10 innings.
“I can’t be striking out at the clip that I’m striking out,” Bell said afterwards. “I’m having way too long of at-bats and not capitalizing on mistakes right now, so it’s just been tough.”
The Washington Nationals – powered by MLBbros Josh Bell and Josh Harrison – Beat the New York Yankees 11-4 on Friday night, earning their fourth win in six games.
Bell, the big swinging first baseman Josh Bell got things started for the Nats with a solo blast in the top of the second inning. The 423-foot shot was almost the newest addition to the famed monument park in center field.
With two on, he yoked a fastball over the left field wall that took a one-run lead and grew it to four, as part of a six-run outburst that put the game out of reach.
Harrison walked and scored again in the ninth, finishing the game with a team-high .325 batting average.
The follow through was beautiful. You can’t blame Josh for admiring that work of art.
Even better was the look on the face of Jonathan Loaisiga. He just had to wait for it to land.
Loaisiga must have been confused. He had given up three runs all season, and Harrison gets three of them in one stroke.
More of this baseball. The vibe. The audacity. The unapologetic flex of it all.
Yes, the Yankees had been the story as of late, but Giancarlo Stanton’s hitting streak ended at 12 games, and New York has lost two in a row.
Out of the spotlight, the Nationals have begun to warm up and both Bell and Harrison have been right in the middle of it all.
Bell has been one of the National Leagues’ top power hitters since bursting onto the scene in 2017 with 26 home runs for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and he’s starting to feel more welcome in the nation’s capital.
As the first month of this season came to a close, Bell refound the pop in his bat. Over his last seven games, he’s racked up three extra-base hits, with two of those becoming souvenirs.
Another former Pirate, Harrison is on pace for a career year hitting in the two-hole for Washington. He’s gone without picking up a hit only five times in 2021. Harrison has already matched his 2020 home run output and topped his season totals in hits, runs, and walks.
The Nationals are only two games back of the Philadelphia Phillies. They still have a lot of the elements to contend for the playoffs. With Harrison helping to set the table, Bell is going to have plenty of opportunities to eat.