Phillies slugger Bryce Harper is not in Friday’s lineup against the Nationals.
Things are getting down to the wire for the Philadelphia Phillies, who entering Friday’s three-game series opener against the Washington Nationals have just 25 games in the 27 days that remain in the regular season. Only nine — or slightly more than a third — of those contests will be played home at Citizens Bank Park.
For the Phillies to snap their 11-year postseason drought, the club will need contributions from up and down its 28-man roster. Many thought, however, that reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper would almost single-handedly carry Interim Manager Rob Thomson’s squad to “Red October.”
Harper returned from the injured list in late August — after a two-month absence due to him suffering a fractured left thumb — and finished the month slashing .381/.500/.476 with six singles, two doubles, four RBI, five walks and just three strikeouts across six games and 26 plate appearances.
Once the calendar struck September 1, the seven-time All-Star has been ice cold and is in a slump at the plate. In the same amount of games (six), Harper has just two singles, one double, and three walks, while logging no RBIs and 10 strikeouts spanning 24 plate appearances. His .143/.250/.191 slash line this month is only hurting the Phillies, and it shows with their 2-4 record over the stretch. Overall, Harper has yet to homer since his return.
It appears the Phillies are giving the slugger some much-needed rest against this former team. Harper is noticeably absent from Friday’s starting lineup, released hours before the game against the Nationals. The probable Nationals starting pitcher is left-hander Patrick Corbin, who Harper has slashed .286/.405/.371 with three doubles, one RBI, seven walks, and 13 strikeouts against in his career.
According to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, Thomson told reporters that Harper is “just getting a day off” and is healthy.
In Wednesday’s game against the Miami Marlins, Harper appeared to be in discomfort after a swing. Two days later, is good to hear from the Phillies interim manager that there are no injury concerns.