After decimating a major American city, Bryce Harper is turning his sights on the Phillies. Yes, that little bit of home- and-away NL West scheduling was nice, but now the Phillies have to play a team with more than one good player.
Take Bryce Harper for example. Bryce Harper has been such an advantage in the Nationals' lineup that the umpires are ejecting him just to even things out. His recent success has passed the necessary threshold for the New York Times to lavish him with slobber usually reserved solely for the sad old men who are so lovingly referred to as "legends," granting Harper the privilege of being compared to their city's team.
Is there a more desirable combination of baseball things than "Bryce Harper" and "the Yankees?" The Times didn't think so in their latest article, "Why Must We Stare These Lifeless Yankees Shucks in the Face When There's a Player Like Bryce Harper Running Around?"
Watching him should give the Yankees a chill because he represents everything they are not: young, supremely talented and exciting.
A lifetime ago, or so it seems, the Yankees collected big stars like Harper. If they couldn't build them from scratch — the Jeters and the Riveras and the rest of the so-called and recently departed Core Four — they just went out and bought them.
Yes, yes, we've all felt a swell of pity for the Yankees the last few years. It's been awful.
Harper will spend the season traveling from series to series, being praised by opposing teams' columnists as they shake their heads in bewilderment, look at their local team and wonder what they did wrong in life to have to cover this crap. And for the next few days, those columnists will be Phillies writers.
The season is only almost two months old, so the Phillies have only played the Nationals seven times so far, but it's still apparent that while shutting out the Diamondbacks is one thing, smothering Bryce Harper when he's having one of his "episodes" is another.
- Harper vs. Phillies lifetime: .255/.360/.424, 6 HR, 3 3B, 7 2B, 9 SB, 29 BB, 51 SO in 184 PA
- Harper vs. Phillies 2015: .238/.467/.667, 3 HR, 9 BB, 8 SO in 30 PA
Hey, that's not so bad, though Phillies pitchers are clearly trying to pitch around him. Of course, the Phillies haven't pitched to Harper in the month of May yet, but how bad could
- Harper in May 2015: .393/.513/.967, 10 HR, 1 3B, 3 2B, 15 BB, 11 SO in 76 PA
And the Phillies are throwing Sean O'Sullivan, Cole Hamels, and Aaron Harang at him, which is only going to make him angry.
- Bryce Harper vs. Sean O'Sullivan: 2-for-5, 2 HR
- Bryce Harper vs. Cole Hamels: .286/.412/.321, 5 BB, 5 SO, that time he humiliated Hamels by stealing home after Hamels purposely hit him with a pitch, in 28 AB
- Bryce Harper vs. Aaron Harang: .450/.476/.750 in 20 AB