Bryce Harper credits Joe Girardi for recent Phillies success
By Matt Rappa
Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper has not been shy on his appreciation and support for fellow perennial All-Star, catcher J.T. Realmuto.
Wednesday morning on MLB Network, Harper called Realmuto a “great person,” both on and off this field, as well as a great dad and husband.
“He is everything that you want in a player for your organization,” Harper said. “He does a great job with everything he does. On the baseball field, what can you say?”
“I think everyone knows how I feel about him. He is a great catcher. He works hard; he is an unbelievable bat up there as well. He puts great at-bats going,” Harper continued.
While Harper is putting up career-best numbers so far, Realmuto arguably is right there with him, if not ahead in some categories on offense. The catcher’s eight home runs and 20 RBI are the third- and fourth-best respectively in the National League.
“He just works. He is always writing down something and trying to get his pitchers better each day,” Harper added about Realmuto. “Our starting pitchers and bullpen really love throwing to him. He is a great player and a great person as well.”
“I look forward to hopefully being with him for a couple of years into my contract.”
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Following the Phillies-Red Sox series finale Wednesday afternoon, the team will trek south to Buffalo, New York, to play a doubleheader against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday. Both games will last seven innings, a new rule put in place for the shortened season to keep players fresh amid few off days and minimal time to ramp up in summer camp.
Harper said he likes seven-inning doubleheaders, as opposed to the usually nine-inning ones.
“It is great. You are able to get in two games in 14 innings and hopefully win both of them,” Harper said. I did not mind the nine either. It is part of our game now and what we have to do this year.”
Harper hopes the seven-inning doubleheaders are only temporary, however.
“We will see what [Major League Baseball does] next year and in years to come,” he said. “I would expect them to put back nine-inning doubleheaders. It is how our game is right now.”
“We have to go about it; [there is] nothing we can do.”
The Phillies have played two such doubleheaders so far this season, splitting against the Yankees on August 5, and losing both against the Atlanta Braves on August 9. All four games were played at Citizens Bank Park.