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Phillies Nuggets: Bryce Harper out of the lineup for second straight day


Bryce Harper is out of the Phillies lineup Sunday. (Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire)

Reigning National League MVP Bryce Harper is out of the lineup for the Philadelphia Phillies Sunday afternoon, as they look to sweep the Washington Nationals.

An infected blister on the padding of Harper’s left hand right below his index finger was still swollen enough to prevent him from being in the lineup Saturday as well.

When asked if Harper could potentially come off the bench as a pinch hitter, interim manager Rob Thomson said “you never know” with a smile, just as he did prior to Saturday’s game. Harper ultimately didn’t pinch hit in an extra-inning win over the Nationals Saturday, with Thomson admitting after the game that he didn’t end up being available to pinch hit.

“I think it’s a little bit better today,” Thomson said to the media in the dugout at Nationals Park Sunday morning. “I just looked at it, I don’t have anything to compare it to other than what I saw yesterday, but it looked a little bit better. It’s still swollen.”

Harper didn’t start Game 2 of a doubleheader Friday, but Thomson said yesterday that wasn’t related to the blister. The 29-year-old did come off the bench in that game, delivering a game-tying double in the bottom of the eighth inning.

When he’s been in the lineup this month, Harper has turned in staggering production, slashing .404/.492/.750 with a 1.242 OPS so far in June. Even though a small tear in his right UCL has prevented him from playing in right field for most of the season, Harper feels like a lock to be elected to the seventh All-Star Game of his career. Whether he would participate in the midsummer classic or not remains to be seen.

In the meantime, the Phillies will be off Monday before heading to Texas on Tuesday. Thomson seemed to agree with the assessment that things are trending towards Harper rejoining the lineup in Arlington.

Three Days In A Row For Seranthony?

When he was introduced as the interim manager earlier this month, Rob Thomson didn’t rule out using a reliever in three consecutive days. Joe Girardi had a stated goal not to use relievers in three straight games.

It’s one thing to say that you would use a reliever three games in a row, in theory. It’s another when you’re faced with the possibility of using Seranthony Domínguez — who missed the better part of the last three seasons — for a third straight day.

“I wouldn’t say that I’d never use him three days in a row,” Thomson said. “But I’m careful with him.”

So then the preference Sunday would be to get through the game without using Domínguez, right?

“We’ll see.”

Thomson would go on to say that while he respects questions about strategy before the game, he prefers to stay away from them.

The guess here is that he’d also like to stay away from using Domínguez Sunday, even if that means using a combination of Corey Knebel, Jeurys Familia, Connor Brogdon and potentially some others to close out a tight game.

The Nuggets

  • Sunday’s Phillies game will be broadcast exclusively on Peacock. It will still be avaliable to listen to on the radio on SportsRadio 94 WIP, with Scott Franzke and Michael Bourn on the call.
  • Aaron Nola‘s 2.3 fWAR is one of the highest marks in the National League, trailing only teammate Zack Wheeler and Sandy Alcantara of the Miami Marlins and Joe Musgrove of the San Diego Padres (all three are at 2.4).
  • Nick Maton will head to Clearwater today, per Rob Thomson. He’ll continue to rehab from a sprained right shoulder down there. He’ll track pitches and do cage work as he starts to ramp up. No word on a rehab stint yet.
  • Great nugget from Chris Ware of the Phillies PR Staff: The last time that the Phillies swept a five-game series was against the Florida Marlins from June 28-July 1, 2001 at Veterans Stadium. The winning pitchers in that series were Robert Person, Rheal Cormier, Bruce Chen, Omar Daal and Nelson Figueroa. Jose Mesa had three saves in the series.

Phillies Lineup

  1. Kyle Schwarber, DH
  2. Rhys Hoskins, First Base
  3. Didi Gregorius, Shortstop
  4. Nick Castellanos, Right Field
  5. J.T. Realmuto, Catcher
  6. Odúbel Herrera, Center Field
  7. Alec Bohm, Third Base
  8. Bryson Stott, Second Base
  9. Matt Vierling, Left Field

Pitcher: Zach Eflin

Nationals Lineup

  1. César Hernández, Second Base
  2. Juan Soto, Right Field
  3. Josh Bell, First Base
  4. Nelson Cruz, DH
  5. Keibert Ruiz, Catcher
  6. Luis García, Shortstop
  7. Maikel Franco, Third Base
  8. Yadiel Hernández, Left Field
  9. Lane Thomas, Center Field

Pitcher: Jackson Tetreault

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