Buzzkill on Bryce night when Phillies are butchered by Dodgers

Buzzkill on Bryce night when Phillies are butchered by Dodgers

LOS ANGELES — Bryce Harper’s much-anticipated return to the Phillies lineup didn’t produce the results he or the team might have hoped for on Day 1, but it’s about the long game, not a game at Dodger Stadium, rather than the offense closed was knocked down by a left bolt due to a late bullpen collapse and a position player was needed to record the final.

Harper went 0 for 4 and hit back three times in his first game since undergoing Tommy John surgery 160 days ago. It was a quick return that didn’t include a minor league rehab assignment, and Harper has warned he might not be himself for a while.

He saw 16 pitches in his four record appearances and swung through seven of them. He went all four times after the first pitch.

“I feel like my timing is pretty good, but right now it’s just seating for me,” Harper said after the Phillies’ 13-1 loss. “I had some pretty good pitches in my second at-bat and also the last at-bat, a slider and a heater that I should have swing on better. Flush that today and come back tomorrow. My swing feels good. I just need to get started and understand that it’s going to take me a minute.

Harper was feeling physically good after the game and will be back in the lineup Wednesday afternoon. He will play every day as the DH and Phillies schedule is conducive to that type of workload as they have four of the next 15 days off.

Facing Julio Urias, one of the best lefties in all of baseball, is no easy feat for a player in a hot streak, let alone one who hasn’t played a live game in six months. But Harper wasn’t interested in waiting another day. He was dying to come back, tough matchup or not.

“I don’t have too good numbers against him and he threw the ball damn well tonight,” Harper said of Urias, who went 10 in seven innings and conceded just one hit, a solo homer against Trea Turner.

“I thought his fastball was a tad up from the last few starts. These are the big leagues, right?

This was Harper’s first experience with the pitch clock. The Phillies used it in its simulated game against Ranger Suarez, Nick Nelson and pitchers from their farm system, but it’s very different under the lights at Dodger Stadium against a stacked playoff-tied team.

“I think the biggest thing is that all our lives we’ve been told to slow down the game,” he said. “It will be an adjustment for me, but it is what it is at this point. The game will speed up.”

The Phillies were outplayed 26-5 in the first two games of the series and are 2-3 on a difficult road trip through Houston and Los Angeles. They can make it a .500 trip on Wednesday, a result most teams would get against the Astros and Dodgers.

While the Dodgers scored their last five runs against Yunior Marte and infielder Kody Clemens, they also hit some key pitchers on the Phillies staff. Matt Strahm and Taijuan Walker had their worst starts of the season on Monday and Tuesday. Gregory Soto allowed four runs while recording two outs after allowing a hit to just one of the previous 36 batters he faced. Craig Kimbrel also had problems on Monday.

“It’s not big at all,” said manager Rob Thomson of the talent gap between the two clubs. “I thought we were right by the seventh (down 4-1) and Soto had a bad night. He played really, really well. Marte, this is his first time playing back-to-back and we were trying to get through it without using anyone else. I think he was tired of smoking.

“We just have to come back tomorrow and split the road trip.”

Thomson liked the club speed he saw from Harper, but acknowledged that breaking ball detection will not be instantaneous.

“You just have to fight your way through it and he does,” he said. “It shouldn’t take long for him to catch up. He’s had 45 or 50 At-bats in sims, so I don’t expect it to be long.”

Harper struggled last season returning from thumb surgery. He missed two months, came back and hit .227 the rest of the way with .676 OPS until returning to his MVP form in the playoffs.

It’s still a work in progress, but there’s no denying that Harper’s presence is drastically affecting the Phillies’ lineup. His racquet essentially replaces that of Clemens or Jake Cave, who batted at the bottom of the order. The walks will come, the hits will come, the home runs will come, and Tuesday night could end up being the ugliest Phillies game of the season.

“You’re never excited about what just happened,” Harper said. “You don’t want that to happen. I want the results to get better. Granted, I’m looking forward to being back. After six months of drudgery and hard work and to be back today I was very excited. Now we’re just rolling into a season and playing as many games as I can.

“I just have to keep going, keep going. It will even out and get better, it will just take time.”

#Buzzkill #Bryce #night #Phillies #butchered #Dodgers

String theory quantum entanglement

Quantum entanglement takes navigation sensors to new heights

Harper hitless in return but 'excited to be back'

Harper hitless in return but ‘excited to be back’