Phillies

Bryce Harper looks like he's snapped out of his funk

Phillies

Bryce Harper looks like he's finally snapped out of a funk that lasted three weeks — which, in 2020 terms, is nearly 40% of the season.

Harper ended his home run drought at 83 plate appearances with an opposite-field blast off of Marlins right-hander Jose Ureña his second time up Saturday.

Harper also doubled, singled and walked twice to reach base in his first five plate appearances in the Phillies' 12-6 win.

"Tonight, I felt something prior to the game and it kinda clicked," Harper said. "Watched some stuff prior to the game today and it just felt right.

"The last couple of weeks, my team's picked me up for sure. Everyone was swinging the bat really well and I was just kinda standing there."

The Phils are 23-20. They trail the Braves by 2½ games in the NL East and lead the Marlins by 1½ games for second place. They are 2-2 so far in their seven-game series against the Marlins.

It looks like the good swings Harper had late Friday carried over. He scalded a double down the right-field line in his final AB of the doubleheader. He hit another to a similar spot Saturday.

It was a good sign in the win to see Harper lay off pitches just off of the plate beginning with the first few he saw. He had ugly swings at pitches out of the zone in this Marlins series. On Saturday morning, first-year Phillies hitting coach Joe Dillon broke down what he's seen from Harper lately.

 

"Really encouraging because we're gonna need his bat down the stretch these last two weeks," manager Joe Girardi said. "The way I look at it, when a guy that good goes through some struggles, he's due to get hot. We know he can carry a club. It was great to see today. He hit balls hard everywhere — up the middle, to right, to left."

The 83 plate appearances without a home run constituted Harper's longest drought since 2014, his worst big-league season, when he went 102 straight sans dinger.

With 17 regular-season games to play, there is still plenty of time for Harper to end his season on a high note.

He had a difficult few weeks. He’s still hitting .265/.428/.508.

Harper has a higher OPS (.929) than Charlie Blackmon, J.T. Realmuto, Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez and Xander Bogaerts. He's only a few points below Trevor Story and Paul Goldschmidt. 

In totality, it has been a very good season for Harper. He can play better and he acknowledged it a few times Saturday night.

"I gotta take it into tomorrow," he said.