Posts for bryce harper

The Phillies Have an Opportunity to Change the Narrative, Starting Tonight

Bob Wankel - July 12, 2019

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We’ve spent plenty of time over the past few weeks picking apart the Phillies’ flaws. It’s been easy to do during a six-week stretch in which they have faded from one of the National League’s best teams to a fringe playoff contender. Their problems – a lack of rotation depth, bullpen injuries, offensive inconsistency – seem to trade places as the most devastating flaw on a nightly basis, but each of them leads us back to the same conclusion, which is that the Phillies have to do something, perhaps a trade – or three – to save their season.

Sound familiar? It should.

Plenty of Phillies coverage lately has focused on the team’s needs, possible trade targets, and the potential roadblocks that exist, and rightfully so, but the truth is that nobody – including the team’s decision-makers – knows how the market will develop in the coming weeks. So rather than speculate about guys who aren’t here right now, let’s go about this in a different way by examining how those who are here can improve, and I don’t mean in a numerical sense. This isn’t going to be a data-driven analysis on how Bryce Harper’s exit velocity should yield a higher slugging percentage in the second half, though that’s true. Instead, I want to look at the human element of what’s at play here.

This team has no juice right now. It’s totally flaccid, but it wasn’t always this way. Just go back to Opening Day when Rhys Hoskins stepped to the plate after the Braves intentionally walked Harper in the seventh inning of a 6-3 game.

Walking Harper to get to me? Cool, no problem. Watch this.

Know what’s good? Grand slams. Know what’s even better? “F*** you” grand slams that come after intentional walks. This is the type of shit teams feed off of.

Listen to that crowd. Look at the energy, the celebrations, the confidence. Where has it gone? There seems to be no buzz around the Phillies right now. Sure, some of that has to do with the problems already outlined. I get it. It’s difficult to overcome mediocre starting pitching or blown leads – sometimes both – but too often it feels like the Phillies are slogging their way through games without the energy and fight we saw earlier in the season. At least when they aren’t playing the Mets.

Where is the intensity, brashness, and confidence the Phillies played with through 55 games during a promising 33-22 start?

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Harper Homers and Hustles as Phillies Blast Cardinals

Bob Wankel - May 30, 2019

This, friends, this is the way the Phillies drew it up back in March. Aaron Nola dominates, Bryce Harper mashes, nay, everybody mashes, and the Phillies bludgeon the opposition into submission in a blowout win. Before we continue, let us enjoy some Tsunami by DVBBS & Borgeous, which is played after every home run at Citizens Bank Park, and thus currently remains very much embedded in my brain as I write this.

 

Whoever is in charge of the in-stadium music couldn’t pump it fast enough tonight. The Phillies pounded out 11 runs and 12 hits in an 11-4 rout of the Cardinals. Brutal month for St. Louis which is now a miserable 7-18 in May after entering the month 19-10. Yikes.

Anyway, the Phillies’ offensive explosion was headlined by Harper’s three-hit performance. About Harper, real quick. You may have heard something about how he’s struggling right now. Lots of missed fastballs. Lots of missed breaking balls. Copious, potentially historic amounts of strikeouts. All true. Can’t hide from facts, but here’s what else is true: he’s currently the owner of an .839 OPS. He’s also on pace for approximately 30 homers, 50 doubles, and well over 100 RBI. And he’s struggling, or maybe, he was struggling.

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Bryce Harper Trolls Cubs Fans By Throwing Ball Out of Wrigley Field

Bob Wankel - May 21, 2019

Bryce Harper showed off his impressive arm during the fifth inning of last night’s game with this laser to nail Anthony Rizzo at the plate:

An impressive throw and one that would prove critical in the Phillies’ 5-4 win, but I much prefer the one he unleashed after the sixth inning of tonight’s game. Behold, after the jump:

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Phillies GM Matt Klentak Says He’s Not Concerned About Bryce Harper

Bob Wankel - May 14, 2019

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak met with the media ahead of tonight’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers. I wasn’t there because I was running late, but WIP’s Howard Eskin was, and he streamed some of Klentak’s comments, as he often does. So thanks, Howard.

One of the topics covered with Klentak included the struggles of right fielder Bryce Harper. Dating back to April 14, Harper has hit only .193 with a .697 OPS over his last 99 plate appearances. He’s also produced a modest .323 OBP and 31.3% strikeout rate during that span, which has obviously raised some concerns about Harper for some. Just don’t count Klentak among them. Here’s what he had to say when asked by Eskin about Harper’s recent struggles:

I mean, the short answer is no, I’m not concerned. A 26-year-old with a track record like he has, I’m going to trust in that track record. He’s, if I’m not mistaken, leading our team in doubles, he’s leading our team in walks, he still has a .370 on-base [percentage], and he’s making plays like he did last night in right field to help us win games even when he’s not hitting, so I don’t have any concerns with Bryce.

I do think we need to recognize though that all players, including the best players in the league, are going to go through stretches when they’re not at their best, and Bryce has had these before. He had a stretch like this early last year, in fact, and what great players do is they work themselves out of it. And I think one of the things, this is specific to Bryce but its also specific to a style of play, one of the things that I like Bryce’s style of play is that even when he is struggling offensively is he takes his walks. And it’s hard for players to really get into prolonged slumps when they have the patience that Bryce’s has, and that’s why we can see right now even though he may not be getting the hits he’s hoping to get, he’s still reaching base at a good clip and positively impacting our club.

You can check out the video, after the jump:

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Smash Mouth Emerges From Obscurity, Calls Out Bryce Harper

Russ Joy - May 2, 2019

“Somebody once told me the world is gonna roll me. I ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed…” Ya got that right, Steve Harwell. Just when I thought I’d seen everything, Smash Mouth came for Bryce Harper and got, well, smashed in the mouth on Twitter. The band voiced their frustration on Twitter in the off-season in an effort to publicly shame the San Francisco Giants and their alleged miscommunication regarding a pursuit of Harper. It was cute, but it didn’t end up working out for the Giants as Harper chose the superior city of Philadelphia to start his family. Anyway, following the CBP faithful’s booing of their right fielder, the band -known by most for their cover of The Monkees’ “I’m A Believer”- took to Twitter to attack Bryce Harper like a jilted lover:

Woof. I get that life must be tough when you look like Guy Fieri, but come on, man. (Seriously, they’re identical.)

Smash mouth singer guy fieri

The whole ordeal is a bit sad. Smash Mouth was a decent 90’s band. They provided the most recognizable song from Shrek, but instead embracing his inner ogre, Harwell came off like a totally jackass.

To make things even worse, the band must have been scouring social media for any mention of themselves, Harper, and booing:

Bam? Who does this guy think he is, Emeril Lagasse? Booing is a way of life. It’s how we hold our players accountable. Booing offends you, Smash Mouth? Maybe you should worry about your fans stabbing people outside of your park. Hopefully this is the last we hear from the band until Shrek 5 comes out someday.

Bryce Harper Got Ejected in Queens Tonight

Philip Keidel - April 22, 2019

Bryce Harper came to the Phillies as a player who, as recently as this past winter, was seen by some in Major League Baseball’s executive circles as “not a winner.” Based on tonight’s evidence, it’s probably safe to say that Harper very much wants to win.

Tonight’s Phillies/Mets game featured umpire Mark Carlson behind home plate. “Featured,” because Carlson apparently never heard the adage that says the umpire is doing his job when no one notices he is there. Carlson’s command of the strike zone tonight through three innings was, to put it charitably, garbage. Harper had been punched out looking in his at-bat in the top of the fourth, and clearly did not care for the second strike (fourth pitch) in the AB:

Rhys Hoskins then hit a home run, and the iffy strike zone Carlson was enforcing receded into the background for, oh, maybe a few minutes. After a walk to Maikel Franco and a lineout by Phil Gosselin, Cesar Hernandez took a 1-1 pitch at (above?) the letters:

And at that point, Harper had seen enough:

Harper became the first Phillie to be ejected from a regular season game since 2015 when Justin de Fratus took an early shower on June 16 of that season. Try to come up with another time where you’d put de Fratus and Harper in the same sentence. Not sure you can.

And it wasn’t quite over then, because Phillies manager Gabe Kapler sprinted from the dugout to get to Carlson, with Harper right behind him — and both Harper and Kapler tore into Carlson until there wasn’t much point to it anymore. It looked for all the world like Kapler wanted to get ejected, too; it also looked like Carlson knew what kind of night he was having and decided to let Kapler have his say without consequence.

Neither the ejection nor the likely suspension of Harper is good news for the Phillies. But let’s take a little time now to appreciate how nice it is to have a competitive team that knows how good it can be and, tonight anyway, won’t sit quietly when it’s getting screwed.

Bryce Harper RANG the Bell at the Sixers Game Tonight

Bob Wankel - April 4, 2019

There’s ringing the bell, and then there’s RINGING, nay, SLAMMING the bell. Bryce Harper, show me whatcha got:

Front foot down, hip locked in, stayed through the swing. Textbook. That’s how you ring the bell. That’s a $330 million stroke. Smooth, forceful, and violent. No wonder he has a 1.840 OPS.

Bryce Harper, content machine. So hot right now.

It’s Been a Terrible 24 Hours for Washington Nationals Fans

Kevin Kinkead - April 3, 2019

Let’s check in on Washington Nationals supporters, those slimy creeps. Those political scumbags masquerading as baseball fans.

Here’s a “reminder” from an NBC News digital political reporter:

That’s a bit of an exaggeration, Jonathan Allen. What goes on in the Capitol (on both sides of the aisle) is an embarrassment to every hard-working, tax paying American citizen. Bryce Harper just plays baseball.

Here’s more wisdom from Allen:

I went over to NBC Sports Washington to see what those jabronies wrote last night and this morning. There was nothing truly defiant, just some pitiful paragraphs like this one, after the jump:

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