It's hard to point the finger at Bryce Harper after all he's done over the last two postseasons for the Phillies, but unfortunately, the uber-talented superstar couldn't come up in the biggest moment of the Phillies' season.
Harper did get off to a slow start in the Wild Card round but came on strong in the NLDS against the Braves. He slashed .462/.611/1.154 with six hits, three home runs, five RBI and five runs scored across the four games. The newly-minted first baseman delivered some iconic moments for the Phillies and their fans. Who can forget the not one but two post-home run staredowns of Orlando Arcia in Game 3?
He looked superhuman at times, but Game 7 of the NLCS was another story entirely. After an 0-for-3 night that included a pair of strikeouts in Monday's Game 6 loss, Harper vanished again on Tuesday — this time going 0-for-4.
In the biggest at-bat of the game, Harper came up with runners on first and second and two outs in the bottom of the seventh. With the Phillies down 4-2 and facing Diamondbacks reliever Kevin Ginkel, it felt like it was Harper's moment to make it happen for his team, like he has so many times before.
Sadly, Harper couldn't recreate the magic from last year's NLCS, when he hit his iconic eighth-inning home run that sent the Phillies to the World Series.
To his credit, he laid off a couple of sliders way down out of the zone during the at-bat, but missed his opportunity on a pair of fastballs that came in pretty much middle-middle. He let the first one go for a called strike and hit the second one hard (107.6 mph) but got under it, ending up with an easy inning-ending out for center fielder Alek Thomas.
Harper understood how big that spot was and spoke postgame about not being able to get the job done.
"He threw me the pitch I wanted. It went 2-1, and he threw me a heater, and I just, man, just not being able to come through in that moment, just devastation," Harper said. "You know, for me personally, just I feel like I let my team down and letting the city of Philadelphia down as well. That was a moment I feel like I needed to come through."
From there, it seemed elementary for the Diamondbacks to clinch the NL pennant. Harper had been the Phillies' last hope as the bottom six of the lineup went quietly to end the game.