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Welcome to Bryce-tober: Bryce Harper Has Taken over MLB’s Largest Stage

Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images Bryce Harper turned two things on Monday: 31 years old and into even more of a postseason legend. It was a familiar story, really. Or at least a story that’s beginning to feel more and more familiar. There were the Philadelphia Phillies, notching yet another W in October to

Welcome to Bryce-tober: Bryce Harper Has Taken over MLB’s Largest Stage

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 16:  Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies touches home plate after hitting a solo home run in the first inning during Game 1 of the NLCS between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Monday, October 16, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Mary DeCicco/MLB Images by way of Getty Photos

Bryce Harper turned two issues on Monday: 31 years previous and into much more of a postseason legend.

It was a well-recognized story, actually. Or a minimum of a narrative that is starting to really feel increasingly more acquainted. There have been the Philadelphia Phillies, notching yet one more W in October to inch nearer to the World Sequence. And there was Harper, smack in the midst of all of it.

It was technically Kyle Schwarber who got the party started for the Phillies of their 5-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Recreation 1 of the Nationwide League Championship Sequence, however Harper was fast to comply with with a first-pitch homer of his personal off D-backs ace Zac Gallen.

Philadelphia Phillies @Phillies


That was only the start of a banner day for the previous No. 1 choose turned seven-time All-Star and two-time Nationwide League MVP. He went on to drive in one other run and rating one as nicely.

Harper even used his personal fingers to blow out a mock set of candles as he was touching house plate after his homer. And why not? He was, in spite of everything, experiencing literal want success.

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B/R Stroll-Off @BRWalkoff

This shot 😮‍💨 @Phillies

“I’ve at all times wished to play on my birthday,” Harper had told reporters earlier than Recreation 1. “A Recreation 1 win could be superior. That is what you need any time you are in your individual ballpark and doing that. I’ve at all times wished to do that, so I am excited to have the chance and the possibility to do it.”

There’s Scorching, and Then There’s Harper in October

OK, let’s pause and ensure that Yordan Álvarez and Nick Castellanos additionally get the credit score they deserve.

Álvarez has been positively scalding for the Houston Astros on the American League aspect of the Main League Baseball playoffs, placing up a 1.701 OPS and 6 house runs. That is first-of-its-kind stuff for a hitter by way of his first six video games in a single postseason.

Castellanos, in the meantime, has arguably been extra beneficial than Harper simply amongst Phillies hitters. He is homered 5 occasions simply in his last three games, and two of these had been essential in sinking Atlanta in a 3-1 clincher in Recreation 4 of the NL Division Sequence.

However the 1.522 OPS and the 4 house runs that Harper has in seven video games to date? Yeah, that is fairly good.

Even higher? It isn’t as if he is solely simply stumbled into October dominance.

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Harper had some good playoff runs in his days with the Washington Nationals, however what he is performed in his two possibilities as a Phillie actually is one thing else. In 24 video games, he is put up a 1.260 OPS and 10 house runs.

Six different guys have reached those marks in a span of 24 playoff video games earlier than, however solely three earlier than Harper did so for a single staff: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Reggie Jackson.

Actually Babe Ruth. Actually Lou Gehrig. Actually Mr. October.

MLB Is Going to Want a Larger Highlight

The numbers are value mentioning as a result of numbers are at all times the very first thing that future baseball archaeologists dig up. And once they dig up what Harper did in October of 2022 and 2023, they will have a straightforward reply for the way the Phillies gained so many video games.

It is a disgrace, then, that there is not any such statistic as HARP: Starvation Over Substitute Participant.

It is a stat Harper would have been lighting up final October, and by no means extra so than when he hit that home run off Robert Suárez in Recreation 5 of the NLCS to place the Phillies within the Fall Traditional for the primary time in 13 years. And this 12 months, he’d be breaking the dang scales.

The whole lot he is performed in these playoffs has been capital-B Huge, with Act 1 consisting of his 115.3 mph seed into the bleachers off Spencer Strider in Recreation 1 of the Division Sequence and Act 2 consisting of him shortly turning the demise of a rally right into a rallying cry.

Did he make a mistake in venturing too far off first base on Castellanos’ deep drive within the ninth inning of Recreation 2 of the NLDS? That is a sure.

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However did Orlando Arcia make a good greater mistake along with his mocking “Atta boy, Harper!” feedback after the actual fact? Judging from the gaping holes that Harper stared by way of his soul after not one however two house runs within the very subsequent recreation, that is additionally a sure.

Philadelphia Phillies @Phillies

If all the T-shirts are any indication, it is now the Phillies and their devoted who personal “Atta boy, Harper!” It’s kind of of about-face appropriation that defies comparability, save for perhaps in some unknown Bizarro World the place Pedro Martinez himself made New York Yankees followers rue the “Who’s your daddy?” chant.

Regardless of the case, it’s a uncommon deal with certainly to be watching a participant who’s not solely performing his finest on the most important and brightest stage, however who clearly desires to and is aware of he’s.

Ought to this textual content survive, future baseball archaeologists ought to take notice: That is Harper proper right here, proper now.

How Is Anybody Alleged to Cease the Phillies?

The Phillies, in the meantime, are actually 6-1 in these playoffs. They’re an ideal 5-0 at house at Residents Financial institution Park, bringing their house report to a perfect 10-0 of their final 10 playoff contests towards Nationwide League foes.

Three extra will get them into the World Sequence for the second time in as a few years. And if that is the road for what number of extra wins they’ve left in them, one is inclined to take the over.

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It isn’t simply Harper, in spite of everything. And even Harper and Castellanos. Trea Turner has a 1.426 OPS in his personal proper, with J.T. Realmuto falling simply shy of a .900 OPS at .898. And on the pitching aspect, Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola are however two components of a pitching workers with a 1.60 ERA.

In case anyone’s asking, these six guys’ contracts add as much as greater than billion {dollars}. Who else however Harper said it best: “That is why you spend the cash, child.”

Credit score the place it is due, no person had the Diamondbacks beating the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers to even get so far. They swept each of them, they usually even made issues fascinating on Monday by scoring the final three runs of the sport.

It is as much as Merrill Kelly to maintain turning the tide in Recreation 2 on Tuesday. If there’s any cause to suppose he is equal to the duty, it might be that Harper’s solely hit off him in 5 profession at-bats is a mere single.

For now, although, the collection is his and the Phillies’ to lose. And the longer they hold rolling, the extra probably October 2023 is to be remembered as Bryce-tober.

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