Bryce Harper leaves Phillies game with back stiffness; status unknown for final week

Toronto Blue Jays v Philadelphia Phillies
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Late in a loss Sunday against the Blue Jays, Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper was seen exiting the game and giving an explanation to manager Joe Girardi in the dugout. As it turns out, Harper was dealing with lower back stiffness, per Girardi (via Todd Zolecki). The status moving forward for the Phillies’ star is unknown at this point. 

If Harper is to miss any time this coming week, the timing couldn’t possibly be any worse for the Phillies. Slugger Rhys Hoskins is already out with an elbow injury, so removing Harper from the lineup leaves a big power void aside from J.T. Realmuto. 

Harper, 27, is hitting .260/.407/.521 with 11 homers in 215 plate appearances this season. 

With seven games to go, the Phillies are 27-26 and hold a 1/2 game lead over the Reds, Brewers and Giants for the seventh seed in the NL. Take note of the lead being over three teams all tied at exactly .500. That means the Phillies only need to be passed by two of those teams to miss the playoffs entirely. They also only trail the Marlins by one game for the five seed, at present, so the range of outcomes here is pretty wide considering there is only one week to play. 

The Phillies have played their last home game of the season. They head to D.C. to take the Nationals on in a four-game series from Mon-Wed, with a doubleheader on Tuesday, before playing three in Tampa Bay against the Rays

If they have to do so without Harper, the uptick in playing time likely goes to some combination of Adam Haseley, who is hitting .290/.359/.362 on the season, and former number one overall pick Mickey Moniak, who is 2 for 12 with three walks (.333 OBP) so far in five games. 

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