It was inevitable that Bryce Harper was going to slump at some point in the 2019 season. And following a white-hot start to his first year with the Phillies in which the new right fielder banged three homers and six extra-base hits over his first seven games, that slump has arrived.
Over the last eight games, Harper is slashing just .156/.289/.281 with one home run, one double, five RBI, and three runs scored. He has also walked just six times after drawing eight free passes over those first seven games.
The 26-year-old superstar is in the first year of a massive 13-year contract signed just over a month ago. There will be many of these cold spells over the length of that deal. In fact, there will be other slumps this very season.
However, Harper is a huge piece, perhaps the biggest single piece, of the Phillies plans to become a legitimate contending team in the National League this season and for years to come. In the midst of a big early series against the rival New York Mets, they need him to emerge from this slump sooner rather than later.
Harper’s new good buddy, first baseman Rhys Hoskins, has also fallen into a bit of a slump at the same time. Over the last six games, Hoskins is slashing just .154/.290/.231 with no homers, one RBI, and three runs scored.
Those two hit in the 3-4 slots in the Phillies batting order. Following them up most games has been catcher J.T. Realmuto, who has fallen into a lull as well. Realmuto is slashing just .176/.222/.176 with three RBI over his last five games.
For the Phillies to overcome the Mets and their other two talented rivals, the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves, and capture the division crown there is no doubt that Harper, Hoskins and Realmuto are going to have to come through. The middle-of-the order producing in big moments during the head-to-head match-ups between those clubs would go a long way towards reaching their ultimate goal.
The Mets downed the Phillies in 11 innings by a 7-6 score in Monday’s night’s cold series opener. The weather wasn’t the only thing freezing as the Phillies #3-5 hitters, Harper, Hoskins and Realmuto, combined to go just 2-16 with two walks. They combined to strike out nine times, Harper grounded into a key double play, and Hoskins was thrown out trying to steal.
The trio of big hitters will have a tough task in trying to get back on track on Tuesday night against Mets left-hander Steven Matz. Neither Harper nor Hoskins has hit Matz well over their careers. Harper is batting just .235 with two RBI across 17 at-bats. Hoskins is hitting just .100 off Matz with a homer and three RBI. Realmuto has the most success, with three hits over nine at-bats against the southpaw.
TUESDAY STARTING LINEUPS
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) April 16, 2019
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 16, 2019
SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP
- Nick Pivetta: 1-1, 9.45 ERA, 2.175 WHIP, 24 hits allowed over 13.1 innings across three starts with a 14/5 K:BB ratio
- Coming into this season Pivetta was a popular pick among national pundits as a breakout player. It hasn’t happened to date. Our Jason Ferrie did an excellent job in that linked piece breaking down his problems with the fastball.
- Steven Matz: 1-0, 1.65 ERA, 1.041 WHIP, 12 hits allowed over 16.1 innings across three starts with a 19/5 K:BB ratio.
- In this, his fourth start of the season, Matz will already have faced all four NL East division rivals. He shutout the Nats on two hits over five innings on April 6, then struck out eight Braves on April 11 in allowing four hits over six strong.
PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES
- In a big ceremony this afternoon at Independence Hall the Phillies and Major League Baseball announced that Citizens Bank Park will be the site of the 2026 MLB All-Star Game. Philadelphia will play host to all of the accompanying events as well that year, including Fan Fest and the Home Run Derby, as part of America’s 250th birthday celebration.
- With his .323 average, shortstop Jean Segura is the lone Phillies lineup regular over the .300 mark. Team leaders are: Homers – Hoskins and Maikel Franco (5), RBI – Hoskins (16), XBH – Hoskins (9), Walks – Andrew McCutchen (16), Steals – Cesar Hernandez (2), Runs – McCutchen (14)
- 23-year-old Amed Rosario has hit .571 off Pivetta so far in the shortstop’s young career. He is currently second on the Mets with 11 RBI.
TUESDAY PROGRAMMING INFORMATION
- First pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm EDT at Citizens Bank Park in South Philadelphia
- TV coverage: NBC Sports Philadelphia
- Radio: SportsRadio WIP 94.1 FM , WTTM 1680 (Spanish)
MORE FROM PHILLIES NATION:
- Phillies miss out on multiple opportunities and fall to Mets in extra innings
- Matt Veasey’s NL East Beat: Week of 4/8-4/14/19
- David Robertson hits the Injured List with sore elbow
- Phillies Minor League Mash-up: Pitching prospects start off hot
- Madison Bumgarner on Phillies radar as club does its due diligence