NEW YORK -- Bryce Harper blew kisses to Mets fans after hitting a home run here Friday night.
Saturday, he limped off the field and left the game.
With two on, nobody out, and the score tied in the sixth inning, Harper squared to bunt and got hit on the lower left calf by a changeup from Mets ace Jacob deGrom. He initially stayed in the game before being replaced in right field by Travis Jankowski, and it’s unclear if he will be able to play in Sunday’s series finale.
“He’s limping,” manager Joe Girardi said of Harper after the Phillies lost another ninth-inning lead in a 4-3 loss. “I’m not sure what I’ll have tomorrow. Just have to wait and see.”
Harper is starting to heat up at the plate, too. He’s 13-for-42 (.310) in his last 12 games and has three homers in the last five games. After going deep Friday night to snap a scoreless stalemate, he waved and blew kisses to Mets fans as he crossed the plate and headed for the dugout.
“I have a lot of fans here in Citi Field,” Harper said, chuckling. “Just thought I’d say hi and let them know I’m still here. It’s always fun coming in here. We always badger back and forth. We have ever since I was 19. It’s just always fun coming here.”
Harper has 11 home runs, but none with a runner on base. It’s the most consecutive solo homers by a Phillies player to begin a season, eclipsing Fred Luderus’ 10 in 1914.
The Phillies have shuffled the top of the order in an attempt to get more runners on base in front of Harper. Odúbel Herrera took over as the leadoff hitter three weeks ago but had only a .276 on-base percentage out of that spot entering Saturday. Rhys Hoskins has a .265 on-base percentage out of the No. 2 hole.
The result: Only 88 of Harper’s 228 plate appearances (38.6%) through Friday came with a runner on base.
More starts for Moore
After returning from the injured list and an extended triple-A rehab assignment and blanking the Mets for five innings here Friday night, left-hander Matt Moore will make another start, according to Girardi.
Just don’t ask when.
Spencer Howard is scheduled to start Monday night in Cincinnati followed by Vince Velasquez on Tuesday night at home against the Miami Marlins. At present, they occupy the final two spots in the rotation behind Aaron Nola, Zach Eflin, and Zack Wheeler.
But the Phillies are also at the beginning of a 17-day stretch without a day off before the All-Star break. Girardi said they may get “creative” and consider a six-man rotation.
Girardi said the Phillies want to keep Howard in a starting role because they want him to throw all of his pitches and build a workload. But it was impossible not to be impressed by Moore, who had a 9.82 ERA in his three previous starts before going on the COVID-19 restricted list in April, returning as a reliever, and going down with a back injury.
“I just thought his stuff was crisper than before,” Girardi said. “I thought the fastball came out better, I thought the changeup had a lot better movement, I thought his curveball was better, his command was better. Just everything. My expectation is he’s going to start again.”
Nola’s Hall pass
Aaron Nola’s hat is headed to Cooperstown, N.Y.
The Hall of Fame will display the cap worn Friday by Nola when he tied Tom Seaver’s major-league record with 10 consecutive strikeouts. It isn’t the first Nola artifact to wind up in the Hall. The jersey from his final start in 2018 was sent there because he was a finalist for the Cy Young Award.
Nola said he was given the ball from the record-tying strikeout of Michael Conforto.
“I’ll probably authenticate it and put it in a box, I guess, in my house,” he said.
Second baseman Jean Segura (groin) ran the bases again and is “pretty close” to being ready to play, according to Girardi. “His strength is not 100% yet,” Girardi said, “so there’s still some of that that we need.” ... The Phillies reinstated catcher Andrew Knapp from the concussion list and optioned catcher Rafael Marchan to triple-A Lehigh Valley. Also, they returned outfielder Matt Vierling to Lehigh Valley and kept reliever Enyel De Los Santos, who was called up as the 27th player for Friday’s doubleheader. ... Zack Wheeler (5-4, 2.36 ERA) will face his former team in the series finale Sunday against Mets right-hander Marcus Stroman (6-5, 2.32 ERA), who left his last start with left hip soreness.