Wild Card-hopeful Phillies need Bryce Harper to start producing offensively

Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

With 12 games remaining, time is running out for Phillies DH Bryce Harper.

Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper has been ice cold at the plate since his long-awaited return from the injured list.

Harper has been the team’s exclusive designated hitter — and he will not play another game defensively until at least 2023. The hope was that he would return to his MVP form after falling into a minor slump, but it has now extended to the point where it is worrisome.

He has collected a .149/.247/.284 slash line during his abysmal September — that includes a .143 slugging percentage in his last seven games. Many of Harper’s other Phillies teammates are swinging the bat well, but he has just not yet been able to make much of an impact.

Harper is not playing at 100 percent health. There is no doubt that he is an absolute gamer who is battling through his injury — because he wants to play in his first postseason with the team he loves. However, it has been detrimental to have the team’s middle-of-the-order hitter give them nothing during such a vital stretch of the season.

Something that the Phillies can not have is for Harper to further aggravate his thumb. A few days of rest leading up to the postseason could be beneficial, especially because he has not shown any sort of improvement lately.

We all know what Harper is capable of doing to opposing pitchers, which makes his struggles even more frustrating. It is simply the worst-case scenario for Harper to be limited while the Phillies play meaningful baseball in late September.

The Phillies have now gathered three consecutive victories — and Harper started all of the games despite not recording any hits. This goes to show that they are capable of winning against good teams. But in low-scoring postseason games — which are often dominated by pitching — there is no one better on the Phillies roster than Harper to come up in big moments.

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