Bryce Harper is apparently dealing with a nagging injury.
The Philadelphia Phillies are in the midst of a four-game losing streak less than a week before the end of the regular season. That has the team sitting third in the National League East and out of the postseason picture as of Wednesday afternoon.
Missing the expanded postseason would be a disaster for a Phillies team filled with so much talent. Bryce Harper headlines the star power and even he is slumping at the worst time. His rough stretch is apparently due to a back injury that isn’t new, according to his teammate J.T. Realmuto.
Bryce Harper not at full strength
Harper’s batting average was .303 and his OPS was 1.009 on August 29. He is now batting .247 and sporting an .893 OPS. He has not had a hit since Saturday and has only seven RBIs in the month of September.
Unlike Realmuto, Harper has not missed time this season. But his effectiveness will be in question if this back injury is limiting what he can do at the plate.
Harper is not a player to make excuses. That explains why he is not coming out and blaming his back for his poor play. He was signed to make the Phillies a contender again and so far he is failing in that task.
The Phillies have dropped three straight to the last-place Washington Nationals and have one more against Harper’s old team Wednesday night. A three-game series against the 36-win Tampa Bay Rays finishes the season and right now the Phillies are in danger of ending the year on an eight-game losing streak.
Harper will need to step up over the final four games if his team is going to have a shot at making the playoffs. Whether or not that is possible remains to be seen.