Not even the strong wind blowing at Citizens Bank Park could stop this Bryce Harper home run
Bryce Harper has rediscovered his powerful home run stroke over the past week. The wind, though, and not an opposing pitcher nearly put an end to that on Friday.
On a blustery day at Citizens Bank Park, Harper stepped to the plate in the top of the fifth inning against Toronto Blue Jays starter Robbie Ray (the Phillies, despite playing in their home park, were the designated away team in the first game of a doubleheader). Ray, a fellow left-hander, threw a 93-mph fastball on a 1-1 count. Harper didn’t miss it, sending the ball soaring into the Philadelphia twilight sky with an exit velocity of 107 mph.
The only question left was, would the wind, blowing strongly in and knocking down balls, allow it to leave the park. It just snuck inside the foul pole in right-field, 372 feet from home plate but hit hard enough to go much further. The two-run shot gave the Phillies a 3-0 lead; they currently lead the Blue Jays 6-0 in the sixth inning.
Harper has now hit four home runs over his last eight games, including two of Thursday night in a 10-6 loss to the New York Mets. The second of those was a towering, 445-foot shot off Seth Lugo in the second inning that struck the electronic billboard facing the third deck at Citizens Bank Park. It was only the second home run ball to hit the sign since the park opened in 2004; Barry Bonds hit it for his 713th career home run on May 7, 2006.
Before this hot streak, though, Harper went three weeks without hitting a home run. His 18-game drought was his longest since 2014. He didn’t drive in a run for 13 straight games, the longest stretch of his career. He hit just .136 between Aug. 23-Sept. 11, even as the Phillies went 13-6, the second-best record in the NL in that span.
The Blue Jays, meanwhile, have been inflicted with a record run of surrendering home runs. They’re coming off a three-game series in Yankee Stadium during which they gave up 19 home runs, the most in any series in Major League history. The Blue Jays became the first team to give up at least six homers in three straight games.