2022 World Series: Bryce Harper’s historic postseason is in rarefied air

The final pitch Bryce Harper noticed at Residents Financial institution Park despatched his workforce to the World Series. Eight days later, the subsequent pitch thrown to the Nationwide League Championship Series MVP at his house ballpark put the Philadelphia Phillies within the driver’s seat of the Fall Traditional. 

After sending Padres reliever Robert Suarez’s 98.9 mph sinker out the other way for a 382-foot house run within the eighth inning of Sport 5 of the NLCS, Harper began Sport 3 of the World Series on Tuesday evening by turning on an 84.6 mph curveball from Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. for a two-run house run. It was the primary time since Chase Utley within the 2009 World Series {that a} Phillies participant homered on two straight pitches at his house ballpark within the postseason. 

Harper’s two swings, simply over every week aside, every put the Phillies forward — the primary ending off the San Diego Padres, the latter beginning a barrage towards the Astros and shifting Philadelphia two wins away from a World Series championship.

Bryce Harper cranks a two-run house run

Bryce Harper cranks a two-run home run

Bryce Harper hits a two-run house run to offer the Philadelphia Phillies an early 2-0 lead towards the Houston Astros in Sport 3 of the World Series. The Phillies went on to win 7-0.

“Just walking into the ballpark, just being back home, I think is such a momentum swing for us, just for the pure fact of our fanbase,” Harper stated. “We all come in here, and we’re ready to go, and we’re excited to get on the field because we know they’re going to show up and there’s going to be 46,000 people here screaming and yelling and going crazy.”

As a rule, it has been Harper’s swings inflicting the commotion. 

Harper is hitting .382/.414/.818 with six house runs, six doubles and 13 RBIs by means of 14 extraordinary playoff video games. He’s main all gamers this postseason with a franchise-record 21 hits — seven greater than the subsequent closest participant, Houston’s Yuli Gurriel. He has additionally barreled 4 extra baseballs than any participant this postseason. 

Past his personal franchise marks, Harper’s postseason has been historic in a grander context. Harper, Albert Pujols (2004) and Carlos Beltrán (2004) are the one gamers to mash six homers with a batting common of a minimum of .380 and an OPS over 1.200 in a single postseason. 

Of Harper’s six homers — one shy of Jayson Werth’s Philadelphia file set in 2009 — 4 have been go-ahead pictures, trailing solely Pujols’ mark of 5 set in 2004 with the St. Louis Cardinals for essentially the most in a single postseason. 

“It gets the offense going, energizes the whole building,” Alec Bohm, who additionally homered Tuesday, stated after a Sport 3 win that helped the Phillies transfer to 6-0 at Residents Financial institution Park this postseason. 

That constructing is internet hosting November baseball towards all odds. 

The Phillies have been the final of the 12 groups on this yr’s playoff discipline to cement a postseason berth. They possessed the items to mash, however these items have been largely unwhole. Well being had not been on Harper’s facet all yr. 

Already restricted to designated hitting duties for the reason that center of April as a result of a small tear to the UCL in his proper elbow, Harper underwent thumb surgical procedure in June. He didn’t resemble his typical self upon his return on Aug. 26, posting a .676 OPS within the season’s second half and slashing .197/.268/.282 with one house run in his final 19 video games earlier than the playoffs. 

“He got off to a little bit of a slow start because he was off for so long and his timing wasn’t right,” supervisor Rob Thomson stated. “That takes some time. But since the postseason started, he’s been on fire.” 

With the stress at its peak, Harper is persevering by means of any potential lingering ache and etching himself into the postseason file books. 

Harper is the one participant in playoff historical past to file a minimum of 20 hits, six house runs and 6 doubles in a single postseason. He’s two extra-base hits shy of tying the playoff file of 14 shared by Randy Arozarena (Tampa Bay, 2020) and David Freese (St. Louis, 2011). Arozarena performed in six extra playoff video games that yr than Harper has, whereas Freese performed in 4 extra. 

Bryce Harper and the Phillies mash in Philadelphia’s wild win

Bryce Harper and the Phillies mash in Philadelphia's wild win

Ben Verlander and Alex Curry dissect the Philadelphia Phillies’ large win over the Houston Astros in Sport 3 of the World Series.

Amongst gamers with a minimum of 50 at-bats in a single postseason, solely Arozarena — who mashed 10 house runs in 20 video games in his ridiculous 2020 postseason — has recorded the next slugging proportion (.831) than Harper (.818). 

Harper is doing a lot of his harm towards fastballs, hitting .438 towards the pitch. He has homered off a Suarez sinker, a Kenley Jansen cutter and fastballs from Yu Darvish and Dylan Lee. However throwing him junk isn’t a treatment. Harper can also be hitting .375 towards curveballs and has homered on breaking pitches from McCullers and Miles Mikolas. 

“I told myself before the at-bat, ‘Don’t let him beat you here,’” McCullers stated after serving up the Sport 3 homer to Harper on the primary pitch of his at-bat. “But it was not a well-located pitch. It could’ve been a well-located pitch, and he could’ve done the exact same thing.”

The one pitch Harper has struggled to do a lot harm towards this postseason is the slider (1-for-8, .175 wOBA), however he hit .317 towards sliders throughout the common season. Maybe extra outstanding — and an illustration of how locked in he’s — his six house runs have are available 5 totally different zones of the plate. He has homered in all three exterior quadrants, twice on pitches in the midst of the plate and on a breaking ball low and in.  

Any pitch thrown within the zone might add to what’s already been one of many all-time nice postseason performances.  

“I’m just so focused on winning,” Harper stated. “I’m not focused on anything else besides that.”

Rowan Kavner covers the Dodgers and NL West for FOX Sports activities. He beforehand was the Dodgers’ editor of digital and print publications. Comply with him on Twitter at @RowanKavner.

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