Phillies missing superstar bat as lineup struggles to get going early in season

Bryce Harper will be out of the lineup on Sunday after taking a scary tumble in Saturday's game.

Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Bryce Harper
Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Bryce Harper / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

The Philadelphia Phillies offense has looked overmatched through the first two games of the 2024 regular season. Unfortunately, it won't get any easier for the struggling bats on Sunday with superstar first baseman Bryce Harper missing from the lineup, per's Todd Zolecki.

After taking a scary tumble over the railing into a camera well on Saturday, Harper is unsurprisingly getting a day off.

As manager Rob Thomson said following the Phillies dismal 12-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves in the second game of the opening weekend series: "Ya, he got banged up. That was a little concerning when he went into the well there, he hit pretty hard."

As much of an athlete as Harper is, he's 31 and it would be hard to imagine anybody waking up the day after taking a fall like that and feeling good.

"Ya, I knew that wasn't good, you never want to see that," teammate Trea Turner said on Saturday. "But he's tough. He's like a superhero."

Luckily for the Phillies and the fans, Sunday was already scheduled as a day off for Harper, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer's Scott Lauber. The Phillies wanted to ease their superstar into the season after getting a slow start in the spring due to his stiff back. Thomson reportedly said that the day off isn't related to the fall on Saturday.

Phillies bats struggling early

So far, the Phillies offense has looked sluggish and, at times, snake-bitten. Over the two losses, the Phillies' offense is hitting .203 with a .604 OPS, with seven runs and 19 strikeouts.

Harper specifically couldn't have had things go any worse this weekend. The two-time MVP went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a walk on Opening Day.

Yesterday, he went 0-for-3 with a walk again but could have easily had three hits. He was robbed in the left field gap by a diving Jared Kelenic, stung a liner to first baseman Matt Olson who had the easiest double play of his career, tagging out a stranded Turner, and had another shot down the line gobbled up by Olson and turned into a double play to cap off his day at the plate.

The Phillies will have to figure out how to cobble together some runs on Sunday without Harper if they hope to escape the opening series with a win. Even if Harper was in the lineup, the Phillies have their work cut out for them in the series finale. The Braves will send Chris Sale to the mound to try to secure the three-game sweep for the visiting team.