What is wrong with Bryce Harper?
After a week long slump, Bryce Harper had the day off yesterday in the Phillies 6-2 victory against the Boston Red Sox. Harper, who has battled injuries in the early goings of the 2021 season, clearly has not been himself at the plate and Girardi decided to give him the day off before the Phillies hit the road for a nine game road trip starting tonight against the Miami Marlins.
Bryce Harper’s Rough Week
Over his last seven games, Harper is 2-for-25 with 13 strikeouts and one walk. The strikeouts haven’t been pretty and couldn’t have come at worse times for the struggling Phillies. In his final two plate appearances on Saturday, he struck out with the bases loaded and grounded out in the ninth inning with the winning run on base. The Phillies lost 4-3.
The most striking part about Harper’s recent struggles is his low walk rate. Harper, who typically takes pitches and has zero issues taking a base, has very few walks over his last seven games. He’s also fallen behind in the count. Harper was down 0-2 or 1-2 in nine of his last 12 at-bats last week. It’s hard to believe that Harper isn’t hurt. We all saw him take a fastball to the face. Since then, something has just seemed off with the Phillies $330 million man. His fielding has been terrible and his at-bats have been even worse.
Last week we watched the Phillies wait to make a decision on JT Realmuto’s bruised hand. Ultimately, the Phillies had to move Realmuto to the 10-day injured list. League rules allow teams to backdate an IL stint by only three days. Realmuto must miss another week. He’ll be eligible to return this Friday.
Could Harper be sent to the 10-day injured list? For a Phillies team that has been extremely short-handed, they would be without Realmuto, Gregorius, and Harper but for this season and the long-term goals of the Phillies, sending Harper to the 10-day IL now would probably be the best move.
It’s a hard move to make given the Phillies’ offensive struggles. They have struck out 10 times in eight of their last nine games and 476 times this season. That number is good for 19 more strike outs than any other team in the National League.
The Phillies are now off to Miami to begin a nine game road trip. The first four will come against Miami starting tonight with Trevor Rodgers on the mound. Following Rodgers, Sandy Alcantara will start for the Marlins. The two pitchers combined for 13 2/3 innings with 17 strikeouts and only one run allowed last week against the Phillies.
The Phillies are 23-24 and tied with the Braves for second place in the National League. The Mets are in first with a 1.5 game advantage. Over the next nine games away from Citizens Bank Park, with or without Harper, the Phillies need to find a way to improve their 8-14 road record and come away with some wins to keep pace with the rest of the NL East.
Mandatory Credit: CNN International