Bryce Harper entered the day with just eight Spring Training plate appearances and one hit under his belt in what has been a quiet Spring Training for him so far, especially compared to last season. On Wednesday, though, he made some noise.
In the first inning, just two batters after J.T. Realmuto crushed a first-pitch home run, Harper drove Kingery in with a home run of his own against pitcher Hector Noesi to give the Phillies a early 3-0 lead:
In the fourth inning, Harper came up to face former Phillies pitcher Yacksel Rios. Rios got Harper to a 2-2 count before Harper drove his second long ball of the day, this one to the berm in left-center field. This extended the Phillies lead to 7-2.
Harper, who was only solid during the first two-thirds of the 2019 season, caught fire in early August. During the final 47 games of the season, Harper hit .290/.374/.621 to go along with 16 home runs and 41 RBIs. And if this along with his performance in Wednesday’s game is any indication, he is primed for a big 2020 season.
Also from Wednesday…
- Realmuto’s home run was also his first of the season. Like Harper, he will enter 2020 looking to build on the offensive surge he had in the last two months of the season. During the final two months of the season, Realmuto slashed .287/.347/.591 with 28 extra-base hits and 31 RBIs.
- Aaron Nola wasn’t perfect, but he was effective against the Pirates in his outing on Wednesday. In four innings of work, Nola allowed two runs on four hits in four innings of work.
- Nick Pivetta struggled in the first inning of his outing against the New York Yankees on Wednesday night. Not everything was hit hard, but there were some line drives, and the Yankees pushed three runs across the plate. But after Pivetta escaped without any further damage, he really settled down.
- The battle between Pivetta and Vince Velasquez for the fifth spot in the rotation is heating up. On Monday night in North Port, Velasquez was solid, allowing one run on four hits in three innings of work against the Atlanta Braves. Ranger Suarez is also in the mix for the final spot in the rotation.
- The Phillies have just three weeks remaining until they head down to begin the season in Miami against the Marlins on March 26.
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