Bryce Harper’s walk-off slam shatters night
We probably should have all known that this was coming at some point. The Phillies were too talented a team to be slogging along with a losing record since the start of June. They needed to go on a run as soon as possible if they had any postseason hopes.
A coaching staff shakeup led former World Series champion skipper Charlie Manuel back to the Phillies dugout as the new hitting instructor, and the team responded with a pair of wins. Although they crushed the Cubs for 15 runs between the first two games, Yu Darvish dominated the Phillies on Thursday with seven shutout innings. The 5-0 deficit in the eighth looked daunting.
Then, the ol’ Cholly magic kicked in. The Phillies rallied and put Bryce Harper in a position to win it in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and the Cubs ahead, 5-3. The superstar did a superstar thing:
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) August 16, 2019
“Game over” doesn’t adequately describe the pandemonium that went off at Citizens Bank Park in the wake of Bryce’s blast.
Phillies announcer John Kruk lost his mind.
Here’s the Bryce swing and Kruk’s “OH MY GOD” on repeat pic.twitter.com/mxepLSgw3d
— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) August 16, 2019
So did the fans, especially one lucky kid with a prime viewing location.
This little kid might be my favorite. I think he might have unhinged his jaw to scream pic.twitter.com/ghvxS6YZpz
— Michael Clair (@michaelsclair) August 16, 2019
Our jaws are still on the floor, too. That was a titanic shot, and a grand slam to boot.
With one swing of the bat, Harper turned a modest series win into a decisive sweep over a potential postseason opponent. They are now just a game behind the Cubs for the second Wild Card spot, tied with the Brewers. For the dreamers out there, they gained on the NL East-leading Braves, too.
Harper’s excitement just fed the stadium’s energy. After admiring the majestic arc of his 413-foot homer, he positively zoomed around the bases.
That means that he correctly watched it before running, because if you can’t stare at *that,* what can you stare at?
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) August 16, 2019
This was the kind of the moment that Harper had been hoping for ever since he signed with the Phillies. The revenge game against the Nationals had to feel good, but big hits in the heat of a playoff race? Those are something else. (Even if his parents happened to miss it.)
When Harper gets hot, there aren’t many hitters in baseball who are more dangerous at the dish. He’s one of those talents who can put the team on his back during a winning streak. With Manuel on board, Harper has now homered three times in his last two games. The rest of the National League is officially on notice as the Phillies head next to San Diego.
If the magic continues, then Harper pretty much has to become Manuel’s designated water boy. It’s only a fair exchange.
— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) August 16, 2019
Andrew Mearns is a writer for Cut4 whose baseball obsession was born from the shattered dreams of Mike Mussina’s perfect game attempt in 2001. He has a startling memory of World Series highlights that barely functions as a party trick.