The Los Angeles Dodgers pitching staff has been unable to contain the Philadelphia Phillies offense through the first three games of their series, and they have specifically had trouble slowing down Bryce Harper.
In the first game of the series, Harper went 2-for-4 with a home run, double and three RBI. On Friday, he followed that performance with a 3-for-4 effort with two doubles, one home run and two RBI. Harper then proceeded to go 3-for-4 with one double, one home run and three RBI on Saturday.
Harper’s performance through the series thus far set a Dodger Stadium record as the only visiting player to have three consecutive games with a home run and at least two extra-base hits.
“Obviously Harper is going really well right now,” Austin Barnes said on Friday. “We just didn’t throw the ball well. We didn’t do enough to influence them and to make other pitcher’s pitches better.
Even more impressive with Harper’s performance is it was revealed he has a small tear in the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow, which is shutting him down from throwing for at least a month.
Thanks to Harper, the Phillies have scored at least eight runs in each of the first three games against the Dodgers, with 27 total runs. It is a somewhat shocking turn of events as the Dodgers pitching staff was the best in baseball entering this series.
“I think a combo,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts answered when asked on Friday if the loss had more to do with poor pitching or a strong performance by Philadelphia’s lineup.
“First off, you’ve got to give the Phillies a lot of credit. Offensively, I think they’ve had a really good approach and plan against all of our guys. There’s an intent to spoil pitches, use the entire field, take walks if needed. They’ve got a good plan and done a nice job.
“Conversely, on our side, just bad execution. I think there’s some sequencing things we’ve got to be better at. Up until Kimbrel took the mound, and I thought Graterol threw the ball well, just unlucky. We just didn’t pitch well.”
After Saturday’s loss, Roberts said the sequencing and pitch execution was largely the same from the night prior.
Harper, the reigning National League’s MVP and one of baseball’s best hitters, is now batting .305/.361/.634 with nine home runs and 27 RBI.
There should be a break for Dodgers as Harper is not expected to be in the Phillies lineup on Sunday due to receiving a PRP injection.
Dodgers complimentary of Harper
Harper was among the Phillies to give Julio Urías fits on Saturday, and the left-hander gave them their due.
“He’s an incredibly talented player,” Urías said through an interpreter. “Obviously when he’s on a run like this or when he’s swinging the bat the way he is, he’s very difficult to get out. You’ve just got to give him a lot of credit for being the hitter that he is and for the run that he’s on.”
Roberts added: “He gets up to play the Dodgers. He really does.”
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