3 Phillies who need to step up in the NLCS

Which players need to step up for the Phillies to return to the World Series?
Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Four
Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Four / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 3
Next

Bryce Harper

Okay, this one is a bit obvious and almost feels like cheating. The Philadelphia Phillies go as Bryce Harper goes; if he has another big series, it's hard to envision a scenario where they come up short.

Notice I said another, as Bryce has already been otherworldly this postseason. He is fresh off the NLDS, where he slashed .462/.611/.1.154 and crushed three home runs, setting the record for most career home runs in NLDS history with 10.

If the past two postseasons have proven anything, it's that there doesn't seem to be a moment too big for Harper. Time and time again, he has risen to the occasion for the Phillies.

Anchored in the middle of the Phillies lineup, it will be interesting to see how Arizona decides to approach Harper, as the Diamondbacks lack a strong left-handed reliever out of their bullpen.

Joe Mantiply and Andrew Saalfrank will likely be tasked with pitching to Harper in key spots late in games, and I am not sure how much confidence that should instill in Arizona fans. Mantiply posted a 4.62 ERA this season, while Saalfrank is a 26-year-old rookie with 12 career appearances under his belt. Granted, Saalfrank has yet to allow a run in his career, but this is Bryce Harper we're talking about.

You have to think there is due to be an iconic moment or two on the horizon from Harper, and that doesn't bode well for the Diamondbacks. A couple more of these moments, and the Phillies should be able to retain their National League crown.