The trade deadline is nearly a week away and the Phillies started this week as bona-fide buyers. But two rough losses at Yankee Stadium and a challenging eight-game homestand on deck might change their approach. The Phillies are .500 and it’s hard to imagine a sub-.500 club being much of a buyer on July 30. The next week could define the season.
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Phils hope for the best after Harper hurts his foot
Joe Girardi said Harper would have precautionary X-rays after he was hit by a foul ball in the eighth inning of a 6-5 loss to the Yankees. Harper’s right foot looked to be in serious pain as he was visited by an athletic trainer before continuing his at-bat and working a walk.
Girardi said Harper, who was the team’s designated hitter, would have hit again in the 11th inning, which could be a good indication that his foot is OK.
“It was like between his foot and his shin,” Girardi said. “The little soft spot where your ankle kind of goes up. Right there is where he got hit.”
The Phillies left 12 runners on base Wednesday night and went 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position. They scored just two runs against Yankees starter Asher Wojciechowski, a journeyman who was called up from triple A. The Phils had their chances against him, but let the right-hander off the hook in each of the first three innings. They could have made Wednesday an easy night.
Harper went 1 for 3 with two walks and an RBI double. He entered Wednesday batting .309 with a .984 OPS in his previous 25 games. Harper has looked locked in at the plate over the last month, and the Phils would be hard-pressed to replace his production in the lineup. And they’ll need him as they enter a crucial stretch that could decide what the front office does at the trade deadline.
“I think we’re in striking distance, of course. I think we’re in a spot where we’re really going to realize where we are in the next 10 days, right,” Harper said earlier this week in New York. “We have a big series with the Yankees, a big series with Atlanta, and the Nationals come in town. These next couple days could really determine where we’re at.
“I think I said right before the break, as a team, we want to put that pressure on them to hopefully go out there and get the guys that we need to get, if that’s bullpen, if that’s position. I’m not sure where we’re at as a team up top right now with what they’re thinking so I think that’s a conversation I would imagine with [Dave Dombrowski] and Sam [Fuld] about that. We’ll see what happens, but of course we want to put that pressure on them as we can. As a team, I think we know where we can be. We know what kind of ball that we’re playing right now and how good we can be.”
Bryce Harper expects the Phillies to buy at the trade deadline. But a lot could change before July 30.
Philly’s Fairmount Park League is fading. So is a piece of the city’s Black baseball history, Mike Sielksi writes.
Tonight: Matt Moore faces Atlanta’s Charlie Morton when the Phils return to South Philly, 7:05 p.m.
Tomorrow: Zack Wheeler starts against left-hander Max Fried, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: Vince Velasquez against former Phil Drew Smyly, 6:05 p.m.
Sunday: Aaron Nola starts the series finale against right-hander Touki Toussaint, 1:05 p.m.
Monday: The Phillies open a four-game series against the Nationals, 7:05 p.m.
Stat of the day
The Phillies are looking into adding a starting pitcher this month before the trade deadline, and they’d be lucky to add the type of pitcher Pat Gillick landed in 2008. Joe Blanton made his Phillies debut on this day in 2008 at Shea Stadium against the Mets by pitching the first six innings of one of the craziest wins of that memorable season. Blanton made 13 starts for the Phils in 2008, posting a 4.20 ERA before starting three of the team’s 11 postseason wins. And of course, he hit a homer in the World Series. In Blanton’s first start after being acquired from Oakland, the Phillies were down three runs in the ninth inning before scoring six times to win. The highlights are here.
From the mailbag
Send questions by email or on Twitter @matt_breen.
Question: “How long will Falter and Hammer be out?” — Tom J. via email.
Answer: Thanks, Tom. The Phillies declined to say if either Bailey Falter or J.D. Hammer tested positive. But if one of them did, they’ll be out for at least 10 days. If they’re close contacts, they’ll be out until they pass a series of COVID-19 tests.