Tag Archives: Clayton Kershaw

Dodgers NL MVP candidate Cody Bellinger leads baseball’s top team into Philly

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Leading NL MVP candidate Cody Bellinger leads LA into Philly

The Philadelphia Phillies (48-45) welcome the Los Angeles Dodgers (62-33) to South Philly for a four game series this week at Citizens Bank Park.

For the visiting Dodgers, this will be a chance to continue to re-establish their dominance. After suffering through their first four-game losing streak since mid-April, the Dodgers exploded for 18 runs to capture their last two against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
The Dodgers come to Philly with the third-highest runs per game average (5.25) in the National League. Also, their pitching staff has the lowest ERA and batting average against in the league.
Those numbers highlight the reasons that the Dodgers have romped to a 14.5 game lead in the NL West Division as they try to win a seventh consecutive division crown. In addition, the Dodgers have the best overall record in the National League, sitting four games clear of the Atlanta Braves in the loss column.
These two teams met at Dodger Stadium at the end of May while both were in first place. The Dodgers swept out the Phillies, outscoring them 18-6 to begin the Phillies slide in the standings. With this series at home, the Phillies will try to reverse both that previous outcome and their own season fortunes.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Cody Bellinger: RF (23) – .334/.431/.687, 31 HR, 52 extra-base hits, 73 RBIs, 72 runs, 8 steals. Leading NL MVP contender.
Max Muncy: 1B (28) – .264/.365/.528, 23 HR, 37 extra-base hits, 62 RBIs, 58 runs
Joc Pederson: LF (27) – .238/.333/.517, 20 HR, 30 extra-base hits, 42 RBIs, 49 runs
Alex Verdugo: CF (23) – .307/.355/.498, 10 HR, 32 extra-base hits, 41 RBIs, 35 runs
Corey Seager: SS (25) – .266/.345/.448, 8 HR, 29 extra-base hits, 38 RBIs, 40 runs
David Freese (36)/Justin Turner (34): 3B – 19 HR, 48 extra-base hits, 61 RBIs, 80 runs

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

A.J. Pollock: The 31-year-old Pollock signed with the Dodgers as a free agent back in January. Los Angeles lured the center fielder away from the division-rival Arizona Diamondbacks, with whom Pollock had played since being selected at 17th overall in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft, with a four-year, $55 million deal that also includes a $10 million player option for the 2023 season.
Pollock was a 2015 NL All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner who was seen as one of the most consistent players in the game. The Dodgers saw him as just that – a consistent presence to man the middle of their outfield for the next few seasons as they tried to push through from NL champions to world champions.
Things did not begin well. After he had slashed just .223/.287/.330 with six extra-base hits over his first 28 games (26 starts), it was announced that Pollock was injured, suffering from an elbow infection. Pollock had a metal plate in his elbow, inserted in a previous surgery. That plate would need to be removed, and Pollock would end up on the IL right through the MLB All-Star Game last week.
Activated for this past weekend, Pollock returned to deliver a half-dozen hits against the Boston Red Sox, capped by a three-hit night in Sunday’s nationally televised extra-inning victory. The Dodgers defense has been the one suspect area for the team in this big season for the club. With the return of Pollock, the outfield defense should begin to stabilize.
Just what the Phillies need to face this week, the best team in the National League actually putting more talent on the field and improving their overall play.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

MONDAY – Clayton Kershaw: 7-2, 3.09 ERA, 3.59 FIP, 1.051 WHIP, 88 hits over 99 IP across 15 starts with a 91/16 K:BB
TUESDAY – Walker Buehler: 8-1, 3.46 ERA, 2.84 FIP, 0.990 WHIP, 89 hits over 104 IP across 17 starts with a 113/14 K:BB
WEDNESDAY – Kenta Maeda: 7-6, 3.82 ERA, 4.31 FIP, 1.056 WHIP, 75 hits over 101.1 IP in 18 starts with a 101/32 K:BB
THURSDAY – Ross Stripling: 4-3 , 3.65 ERA, 3.84 FIP, 1.230 WHIP, 63 hits over 66.2 IP across 24 games (10 starts) with a 69/19 K:BB

THE SKIPPER

Dave Roberts is now in his fourth season at the helm of the Dodgers. He guided the team to an NL West crown in each of this first three seasons, and is well on his way to a fourth straight. The Dodgers have also won back-to-back National League pennants under Roberts guidance.
The only thing missing from Roberts managerial resume is a World Series championship. The Dodgers have not won one since Kirk Gibson‘s miracle home run and Orel Hershiser‘s dominating pitching led the 1988 team to a world title. They lost in seven games to the Houston Astros in 2017 (Gabe Kapler was the Dodgers farm director then) and to Boston Red Sox in five games last year.

SERIES WEATHER REPORT

The first three nights of this series are going to be very similar. Temps in the low-90’s during the day, playing temps in the mid-upper 80’s. Moderate humidity, light winds, almost no chance of precipitation. Typically beautiful summer nights. For the series finale on Thursday afternoon there will be at least a 40% chance of scattered thunderstorms as the leftover residue from Hurricane Barry flows into the area. Otherwise the conditions will be similar to the prior three days.

Dodgers walkoff Phillies on Will Smith home run

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Rookie catcher Will Smith beats Phillies with walkoff homer

The Los Angeles Dodgers (40-19) got a walk-off homer from rookie catcher Will Smith on a 3-2 pitch with one out in the bottom of the 9th inning to beat the Philadelphia Phillies (33-25) by a 4-3 score on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium.

With the loss, the Phillies lead in the NL East Division standings shrinks to two games over the Atlanta Braves and 4.5 over the New York Mets, each of whom won earlier in the day.
Phillies skipper Gabe Kapler had few good traditional options as his starting pitcher for this one after Zach Eflin came up injured, so he chose to go with “The Opener”, using lefty reliever Jose Alvarez at the start. Alvarez would do the job, holding the Dodgers off the scoreboard over the first two innings.
Alvarez gave way to Juan Nicasio, who retired the lone batter he faced in the bottom of the 3rd inning before giving way himself to lefty Cole Irvin. Kapler hoped to get from between 3-4 innings out of the rookie.
The hosts got on the board first, this time scoring a run off Irvin, whom Kapler had brought in strategically with a couple of big left-handed bats due up. The rookie southpaw allowed a base hit to Max Muncy with one out, then walked Cody Bellinger with two outs to foil that lefty-on-lefty strategery. When Enrique Hernandez grounded a single up the middle, Muncy rolled home with the first run of the game.
The Phillies got back to even in the top of the 4th when Bryce Harper lined a one-out single, moved up to second base on a wild pitch by Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw, went to third when Muncy couldn’t handle a slow roller by Rhys Hoskins that went for an error, and then scored on a base hit by J.T. Realmuto.
David Freese led off the bottom of the 5th with a solo home run off Irvin, his 5th of the season, to put the Dodgers back out in front by a 2-1 score. Then in the home 7th, they scored what appeared to be a huge insurance run.
Kapler made a change from Irvin to Vince Velasquez. Irvin had surrendered two runs, but gave the Phillies 3.2 innings and kept them in the game. He struck out five Dodgers batters, including the last four that he faced.
Velasquez started out strong, striking out Smith as the leadoff man in the bottom of the 7th. Matt Beaty, hitting for Kershaw, then reached on a swinging-bunt single and moved to second on a walk to Joc Pederson. Beaty then went to third when Velasquez tried to pick him off and bounced one into the outfield, and then scored on a sac fly by Muncy.
Though the Phillies offense was largely lifeless to that point in the game, they had finally gotten Kershaw out. That would prove a key. With one out, Andrew McCutchen was hit by a pitch from new hurler Julio Urias.
That brought Bryce Harper to the plate for a lefty-on-lefty matchup. Every Phillies fan knows that Harper hits southpaws well, and he did just that here, drilling an opposite-field home run to tie the game up at 3-3.
The two teams moved into the 9th inning still tied, and Urias set down the Phillies, giving his club a chance to win a game in which he had blown a lead. They would indeed get him off the hook.
In the bottom of that 9th inning, Kapler went to his closer, Hector Neris. The big right-hander got the first batter, Alex Verdugo, to ground out to second. Then up stepped Will Smith, who had struck out swinging in his previous two at-bats in this game.
The count went full, and then Neris came in with an 86 mph splitter. Smith jumped all over the pitch, blasting it out high over the left field wall, the no-doubter walking the game off in favor of the home team.
Smith was quoted by Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register after his first big-league home run had proven to be a game-winner: “That was awesome. I mean, that was the first walkoff I’ve ever had, first home run in the big leagues — couldn’t ask for a bigger stage or a bigger moment. I’ll remember that forever.
With this victory the Dodgers clinch a winning series. The Phillies will try to salvage one game here in Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon with Nick Pivetta on the mound against veteran lefty Rich Hill for the Dodgers.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING PERFORMANCE

  • Jose Alvarez: 2 IP, one hit, no runs, two walks, no strikeouts. 30 pitches, 18 for strikes.
  • Clayton Kershaw: 7 IP, six hits, one earned run, no walks, six strikeouts. 95 pitches, 65 for strikes.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PLAYER OF THE GAME: WILL SMITH

You would have had a hard time convincing me that Smith was going to end up as the Player of the Game on this night. He was intentionally walked in his first plate appearance, and then looked over-matched in striking out swinging over his next two against Irvin and Velasquez. But he put a beautiful swing on the 3-2 offering from Neris to become the walk-off hero.

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Dodger Stadium the scene as top two teams in the NL do battle

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Phillies are at Dodger Stadium for the weekend

The Philadelphia Phillies (33-24) continue to lead the National League East Division standings by three full games despite dropping Friday night’s opener to the NL West leading Los Angeles Dodgers (39-19) by a 6-3 score.

The two teams will meet once again on Saturday night at Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine, just four miles north of downtown Los Angeles.
For the Phillies it will be an attempt to get the series even, setting themselves up for an opportunity to win it on Sunday. The club has built their divisional lead on accomplishing just that – winning series. They have an 11-4-3 series record coming into this one
However, to accomplish that feat they will have to overcome the powerful Dodgers. Ranked as the top team in Major League Baseball at this stage of the season in our first MLB Power Rankings released this afternoon, the Dodgers have won the last two National League pennants and six consecutive NL West crowns. They currently lead their division by 8.5 games.
In that Friday night opener, the Dodgers spanked Phillies pitching with four home runs, one each from Max MuncyCorey SeagerJoc Pederson, and Enrique ‘Kiki’ Hernandez. It was part of a 12-hit attack. The Phillies were held to just five hits, and are going to have to somehow find more offense on Saturday night against a future Hall of Famer if they want a better result.


SATURDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES LINEUP

  1. Andrew McCutchen LF
  2. Jean Segura SS
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  5. J.T. Realmuto C
  6. Scott Kingery CF
  7. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  8. Maikel Franco 3B
  9. Jose Alvarez P

DODGERS LINEUP

  1. David Freese 1B
  2. Max Muncy 3B
  3. Chris Taylor LF
  4. Cody Bellinger RF
  5. Enrique Hernandez 2B
  6. Corey Seager SS
  7. Alex Verdugo CF
  8. Will Smith C
  9. Clayton Kershaw P

INJURY REPORT

PHILLIES: Zach Eflin joined an IL that seems to grow by at least one new Phillies arm with every passing week. The following relievers are there as well: David RobertsonTommy HunterPat NeshekEdubray RamosAdam Morgan, and Victor Arano. The latter may miss the rest of the season, while none of the others will be back for this road trip. Center fielder Roman Quinn also remains out, not likely to return for another week or so.
DODGERS: The Dodgers are missing three starting players from their everyday lineup: third baseman Justin Turner, catcher Austin Barnes, and center fielder A.J. Pollock. Turner is not actually on the IL, but instead is nursing hamstring tightness. At least at this point his availability is considered day-to-day. Lefty reliever Tony Cingrani also is on the IL with left shoulder soreness.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

  • Jose Alvarez: 0-1, 3.92 ERA, 1.452 WHIP, 24 hits allowed over 20.2 IP with a 15/6 K:BB
  • Well, MLB Network’s Brian Kenney will be happy with this one, at least. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler is going with ‘The Opener’ strategy. He will deploy Alvarez for the 1st inning, then turn the game over to someone such as 25-year-old lefty Cole Irvin. Alvarez could get a second frame if he can get through the first quickly and unscathed. Irvin would go for as long as he can keep the team in the game before having to turn it over to the rest of the bullpen. Assuming it goes off like this, it would be the first start for Alvarez since making six during his rookie campaign back in 2013 with the Detroit Tigers.
  • Clayton Kershaw: 5-0, 3.46 ERA, 1.077 WHIP, 47 hits allowed over 52 IP with a 49/9 K:BB ratio.
  • Perhaps the best all-around pitcher of the last decade, the 3x Cy Young Award winner and 2014 NL MVP has built himself a Hall of Fame career over a dozen big-league seasons.
  • After spending most of the season’s first three weeks on the Injured List, Kershaw has returned as his usual excellent self. Seven of his eight outings have been of the Quality Start variety, and he has pitched at least into the 6th inning in all of his starts this year.
  • Kershaw has gone 3-5 with a 3.07 ERA in 13 starts against the Phillies, averaging 9.99 K/9 and holding Phillies batters to a .216 average against him. The southpaw last faced the Phillies almost exactly one year ago, on May 31, 2018 at Dodger Stadium. He worked five innings, allowing one run while striking out five and issuing one walk.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • The Dodgers are 6-0-2 over their last eight series and will continue to try and extend that winning stretch with a victory in either or both of these final two games with the Phillies. They have now won 13 of their last 16 games, and their 23-7 record at Chavez Ravine is the best home record in baseball.
  • Los Angeles has taken 11 of their last 15 games against the Phillies, and also have won 11 of the last 15 played at Dodger Stadium between the two teams.
  • Prior to this Saturday night game, the Dodgers will hold their annual ‘Alumni Game’, with the first 40,000 fans receiving a special Steve Garvey bobblehead. This commemorates his induction into the Dodgers Legends of Baseball, sort of like the Phillies Wall of Fame. Garvey, Don Newcombe, and Fernando Valenzuela are being honored this year as the initial inductees to the group.
  • The Quality Start registered on Friday night by Kenta Maeda was the 16th by a Dodgers starter in their last 18 games.
  • Muncy’s home run last night was his 24th at home in his 100th career home game. That ties Mike Piazza for the second-most long balls by a Dodgers slugger over their first 100 home games, just one behind Cody Bellinger.

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Phillies and Dodgers clash this weekend as the NL’s top two ball clubs

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Dodger Stadium hosts top two teams in the NL this weekend

The Los Angeles Dodgers (38-19) are the two-time defending National League champions and have captured six consecutive NL West Division crowns. They are once again riding high atop the division as we enter the month of June.

This weekend at Dodger Stadium, these two teams will meet for the first of two times this season. They will meet again in a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park just after the MLB All-Star Game in mid-July. The Phillies and Dodgers are the top two teams in the National League to this point in the season, but they have reached that status in very different manners.
The Phillies have been inconsistent in nearly every facet of the game statistically. They are out-performing those stats, fashioning their winning record and frustrating their fans by looking awful in one game and then like world-beaters in the other two games pf most every series.
Meanwhile out in LA-LA Land, the Dodgers have been truly dominating. Offensively, they lead the league in runs scored, OPS and walks, are third in home runs, and are second in stolen-base percentage.
On the mound, Dodgers pitchers have the lowest cumulative ERA in the NL. They lead the league in batting average against, Quality Starts, and OPS against while allowing the fewest walks in the league. The club is also among the more solid defensive units in the league.
The Phillies have gone 20-11 over the last month, and have won nine of their last 13 despite dropping the series finale to Saint Louis on Thursday. During what is arguably the toughest 23-game portion of their 2019 regular season schedule, the Phillies are now 10-7. That stretch comes to an end with this west coast trip to Los Angeles and San Diego over the next six days.
This will be a major test for the Phillies, a chance to measure themselves against the very best in the National League on the road. Even winning one of three games this weekend could be considered a victory. But the Phillies want more than that. They have taken and held first place by winning series, and that will be the goal once again.
There is a tremendous history between these two clubs. The Dodgers defeated the Phillies in the 1977 and 1978 National League Championship Series, the first of those including what has become known as “Black Friday” in Phillies lore, one of the toughest defeats in team history. The Phillies responded by dumping the Dodgers in the 2008 and 2009 NLCS.
And then there was the infamous 1988 battle at Veteran’s Stadium between Dodgers then-skipper Tommy LaSorda and the Phillie Phanatic:

LOS ANGELES DODGERS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Cody Bellinger: The early-line favorite for the National League Most Valuable Player Award, Bellinger has accumulated quite the highlight reel over the season’s first two months at the plate and in the field. He is slashing .377/.464/.754 with 20 homers, 52 RBIs, 50 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. Formerly the starting first baseman, Bellinger was flipped out to right field in early May. Perhaps some good news for the Phillies? Bellinger is hitting just .250 over his last 10 games. However, he has four homers, seven extra-base hits, and 10 RBIs in that time, so his bat has remained impactful.
Justin Turner: Now in his 11th big-league season, the 34-year-old with the fiery red hair who has finished among the top 15 in NL MVP voting for three straight years is enjoying another solid season. The third baseman has been hot over his last nine games, slashing .359/.405/.513 with nine runs scored.
Joc Pederson: A 27-year-old lefty bat and left fielder, Pederson is another of the hot Dodgers bats. He is slashing .483/.559/.862 over his last nine games with six extra-base hits, seven RBIs, and nine runs scored in that stretch. Having banged 11 of his 16 home runs at home, Pederson will be a major challenge to Phillies pitching this weekend.
Max Muncy: Another of the big Dodgers left-handed bats, the 28-year-old Muncy has mostly started at first base but will also be used at both second and third base at times. His 33 RBIs are second on the club, while his 11 homers and 21 extra-base hits are third. Like a number of the others described here, Muncy has been hot. Over the past two weeks he is slashing .296/.387/.574 with nine extra-base hits and 14 runs scored over his last 14 games.
Alex Verdugo: You guessed it, the 23-year-old Verdugo is yet another big left-handed stick in the Dodgers lineup. With the injury to A.J. Pollock, Verdugo has taken over as the starting center fielder, his first chance to get into the everyday lineup on a full-time basis now in his third season. He is slashing .322/.376/.521 on the season and his RBI per plate appearances mark is second in the starting lineup.

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Hyun-Jin Ryu: the Phillies are not scheduled to see Ryu in this series, which is probably the one piece of good news when considering all of the Dodgers stars. The 32-year-old southpaw from South Korea is enjoying his best big-league season after missing half of 2018 with a lingering groin injury. Ryu is 8-1 with a 1.48 ERA and 284 ERA+, both of which lead all of Major League Baseball. His 0.808 WHIP leads the National League, and he has allowed just 54 hits over 73 innings across 11 starts with a 69/5 K:BB ratio.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

Kenta Maeda (31): Friday – RHP, 6-2, 3.67 ERA, 1.172 WHIP, 46 hits over 56.1 IP across 10 starts with a 56/20 K:BB
Clayton Kershaw (31): Saturday – LHP, 5-0, 3.46 ERA, 1.077 WHIP, 47 hits over 52 IP across eight starts with a 49/9 K:BB
Rich Hill (39): Sunday – LHP, 1-1, 2.73 ERA, 1.091 WHIP, 30 hits over 33 IP across six starts with a 37/6 K:BB

KEY BENCH & BULLPEN PIECESD

Chris Taylor: 2B/SS/OF – .237/.305/.410, four homers, 19 RBIs, 14 extra-base hits over 155 plate appearances
David Freese: 1B/3B – .269/.412/.500, four homers, 14 RBIs, 10 extra-base hits over 97 plate appearances
Russell Martin: C – .246/.363/.369, four extra-base hits including two homers over 80 plate appearances. The 14-year veteran and rookie Will Smith will split time behind the plate in this series with starting catcher Austin Barnes on the IL.

THE SKIPPER

Dave Roberts is in his fourth season as the Dodgers manager. He guided the club to the NL West crown in his first three seasons, and to the National League pennant and a World Series berth in both of the last two years. He has a career 325-219 record as skipper with LA following on a 10-year career as a player with five different teams. Roberts played with the Dodgers from 2002-04.
He is famed for a stolen base in the 2004 ALCS while with the Red Sox that sparked Boston to a rally from down 3-0 in the series to the Yankees. Boston would rally to win that series in seven games, then would break the 86-year ‘Curse of the Bambino‘ to win their first World Series. Roberts’ steal is now legendary in Boston.

THE BALLPARK

Dodger Stadium is also known in some circles by the nickname “Chavez Ravine” after the 352-acre location in which it was constructed. Opened for the 1962 season, it became the Dodgers second home after the franchise moved west from Brooklyn following the 1957 campaign. The Dodgers played their first four years on the west coast at the Los Angeles Memorial Colisseum.
The beautiful ballpark is now the oldest in Major League Baseball west of the Mississippi River, and third-oldest in MLB behind only Wrigley Field in Chicago and Fenway Park in Boston. It is also the largest baseball stadium in the world by seating capacity, capable of fitting 56,000 fans on an official basis. The record attendance is 57,099 for the 2009 season opener.
Dodger Stadium’s outfield fence is 400-feet to dead-center field, 330-feet down the lines in both right and left fields, and 375-feet to both right and left-center field.
Little known fact: the entire Palo Verde elementary school was simply buried beneath the parking lot northwest of third base when the ballpark and parking lots were constructed.

LOS ANGELES SERIES WEATHER REPORT

As usual with LA, there is a near-zero percent chance of any rain during this three-game series. The high temps are forecast to be right around 70 degrees, overnight lows in the upper-50’s. Temps will be in the 60’s for the bulk of all three games with light winds and moderate humidity. Bottom line: if you chose to make the trip to Los Angeles for any or all of these games, you will experience perfect baseball weather.
Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Phillies series opposition preview: Los Angeles Dodgers”

Bryce Harper walks twice in first game action with Phillies

Harper walked twice in his first game action
Today is one that fans of the Philadelphia Phillies have been looking forward to for the last nine days. On February 28 the announcement spread like wildfire across the baseball landscape when free agent Bryce Harper agreed to a deal with the club. Since that time the fans have enjoyed a series of firsts.
One week ago today on top of the home dugout at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida they got to see their new hero don the red Phillies cap and pinstriped jersey for the first time. They got to listen as the 26-year-old superstar said all the right things in looking forward to spending the next 13 years trying to bring them championships.
The following day they got to see him stride out from the home locker room and enjoy a practice under that warm Florida sun with his new teammates for the first time. Stretching, running sprints, taking batting practice
As this past week rolled along the new right fielder began to face live pitching, first from minor leaguers and then from some of the big-league staff, including Jerad Eickhoff.
Harper has looked good thus far. He is obviously in great physical shape. But now it is time for him to truly begin getting into baseball shape. That will require him seeing pitches from opposing hurlers who are trying to get him out. That process began on Saturday afternoon.
Appearing in a Phillies uniform during an actual game for the first time, Harper was inserted by manager Gabe Kapler into the #3 spot in the starting lineup in front of the home fans for the Grapefruit League game at Clearwater on Saturday, March 9 against the visiting Toronto Blue Jays.

Kapler was as excited as the fans to see his new young stud in game action. The second-year Phillies skipper was quoted on Friday by Todd Zolecki at MLB.com:
Before anything else, we are fans of the sport and fans of talent. I’m just excited to see him in his first game action. He’s been so focused in what appears to be low-pressure situations. There’s one other guy who I’ve seen take things so seriously, like a live batting practice session on a backfield against Minor League pitching, and that’s Clayton Kershaw…Kershaw will go down on a rehab assignment and he’s pitching in that contest like it’s Game 7 of the World Series. No lack of intensity, same focus. Bryce is kind of similarly wired. I’m excited to see what he looks like in his first Spring Training game.
Harper stepped to the plate for the first time against Jays’ right-hander Matt Shoemaker. The 32-year-old is preparing for his first season in Toronto after being a member of the Los Angeles Angels rotation for the last five years.
After swinging through the first pitch that he saw, Harper worked a five-pitch walk. That was followed immediately by a massive two-run homer over the left field Tiki Bar off the bat of first baseman Rhys Hoskins for a 2-0 Phillies lead.
Harper came up again in the bottom of the third inning with two outs, nobody on base, and the Phillies trailing 7-2. Once again he worked a walk, showing that he is picking up pitches well. On reaching first base, Harper was immediately replaced by Adam Haseley as a pinch-runner.

Harper enjoyed his first practice session with the Phillies on March 3.
The next step is scheduled to come on Monday against Tampa Bay in Clearwater when Harper could see three plate appearances for the first time.
Assuming there are no physical or weather issues, Harper will take his spot out in right field, which reportedly will happen on Monday vs the Rays in Clearwater.
It is all part of the process in getting him ready for the regular season Opening Day on March 28 at Citizens Bank Park against the defending division champion Atlanta Braves.
Earlier in the week, Scott Lauber at Philly.com quoted Harper on that process: “If I’m at 40-45, that’s huge for me. If I’m under that, it’s OK. But it’s trying to see pitches, trying to see as many at-bats as I can.

With just 16 games left down in Florida counting today, and assuming that he is likely to play in about a dozen of those games, Harper will need to average about 3.5 plate appearances in each outing. Again assuming he remains healthy and the weather generally cooperates, that should prove doable.