Bryce Harper: “I feel like I’m the best player in the world”
Following last night’s 7-4 win over the Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper told the media “Every time I get in there, I feel like I’m the best player in the world. I really, really do. That’s kind of how I feel.” Harper isn’t wrong in the slightest. The MVP candidate has absolutely dominated his former team this year, batting .415 (22-for-53) with seven home runs, 12 RBI, and an astounding 1.443 OPS. The best part about it is, that Bryce Harper has been doing that to pretty much any team that the Phillies have faced over the last month and a half. Since July 17th, Harper is batting .338 with 16 doubles, one triple, 11 home runs, and 27 RBIs, and a 1.205 OPS. Those are his numbers over a stretch of 41 games.
Last night, Bryce Harper hit his 100th career home run at Nationals Park in the top of the 1st inning to give the Phillies an early 2-0 lead. The Phillies were without JT Realmuto, who’s battling soreness in his shoulder and ankle, and of course, Rhys Hoskins who is done for the season. Bryce Harper has been tasked to carry the Phillies as they look to remain in contention for the National League East division title or the second NL Wild Card Spot. Harper’s 26th home run of the season could not have come at a better time, as it set the tone in game one of what very well could be a make-or-break series for the Phillies.
Harper wasn’t finished. He hit a leadoff single in the third inning to spark a three run inning for the Phillies, thanks to a Ronald Torreyes triple that cleared the bases, giving the Phillies a commanding 6-2 lead in the ball game. I would hate to give away any secrets to MLB pitchers that might be reading this article, but it would probably be smart to not even pitch to Bryce Harper right now. The Phillies lineup around him has been inconsistent to say the very least, but for some reason, pitchers think they can challenge Bryce. Great for the Phillies, bad for opposing teams.
In a statistic that’s almost hard to believe given the ups and downs of the last month for the Philadelphia Phillies, the team has scored seven runs in five consecutive games. They are 4-1 over that span, with the only loss coming during the series opener against the Diamondbacks when they lost 8-7. Yes, I am fully aware that the Diamondbacks and Nationals are far from playoff teams, but this is what the Phillies are supposed to do. They need to beat up on bad teams and plate as many runs as possible. With a schedule over the next month that features series against the Marlins, Rockies, Cubs, Mets, and Pirates, the Phillies need to dominate these teams and continue to make up ground in the standings.
Speaking of the standings, the Phillies have now won four straight games to improve to three games over .500 at 67-64. The Dodgers beat the Braves last night, who have their hands full on the west coast, meaning the Phillies pulled within 3.5 games of the NL East standings with 31 games to play. On top of that, the Phillies are now just three games behind the Cincinnati Reds (71-62) for the second Wild Card spot in the NL East.
For those who lost hope over the past week, welcome back to the Hunt for Red October.
To wrap up last night’s recap, Zack Wheeler was on the mound and did not have his best stuff, but was efficient thanks to run support from Bryce and the gang. Wheeler earned the win, throwing six innings and allowing five hits, four earned runs, and four walks, while striking out four. Connor Brogdon, Archie Bradley, and Jose Alvarado pitched fantastic in relief, allowing a combined three hits, no runs, and one walk, while striking out three.
Brad Miller gave the Phillies some extra run support in the fifth inning with a solo shot to extend the Phillies run total to seven on the night.
The Phillies will need to continue to provide plenty of run support. Tonight, Matt Moore (2-4, 6.12 ERA) will be on the mound facing Patrick Corbin (7-13, 6.09 ERA) as the Phillies go for five straight wins heading into the final month of the season.
Just Ring It.