Bryce Harper is, well, Bryce Harper
You may have heard a thing or two about Bryce Harper over the past 24 hours. After his epic Game 3 performance, you would've had to have your head under a rock to not see all the headlines he made both during and following the game.
Playoff Harper is a thing, a very real thing.
With a .282 batting average, a 1.010 OPS, 14 home runs and 28 RBI in 41 career playoff games, he knows how to bring it at the most critical times, even without getting any extra motivation from opposing players. Now that the Braves have woken him up, Harper is focused more than ever on his mission to get that elusive World Series ring and bring a championship to Philadelphia.
But first things first, he'll have to help his team get past the 104-win Braves.
Spencer Strider is on short rest
On the surface, having Spencer Strider on the mound for the Braves looks daunting. After all, he did strike out 281 batters this year, and put out a solid effort in a losing cause in Game 1. In that affair, he went seven innings, allowing two runs, only one of which was earned, and struck out eight Phillies.
But what also happened that game?
Harper (yes, that guy again) hit the hardest ball ever off of the Braves starter, crushing a 115.3 mph home run.
There's also the fact that Strider will take the ball tonight on short rest. Why is that a big deal? Well, as Dan Roche of NBC Sports Philadelphia made it known, Strider hasn't been as Strider-y on short rest this season.
In eight games on short rest, the 24-year-old has a 5.56 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and a .744 OPS against. On regular rest, he pitched to a 3.33 ERA, a 1.06 WHIP and a .597 OPS.
And finally, we dive back in time to a year ago in the NLDS when Strider made his lone playoff start at Citizens Bank Park. If you don't remember what happened, the Phillies lit him up in the third inning, a frame he never made it out of.
They ended up scoring six in the inning, five on three hits off of Strider, including a monster home run off the bat of Rhys Hoskins.
Here's hoping that history repeats itself.