Harper Returns to the Lineup


Matt Campione

The night of Bryce Harper’s return home.

The Phillies started off the much anticipated 2023 campaign very slowly. They dropped their first four games of the season and still remain with a record under .500 at this point in the year. Since their 0-4 start, the Phillies have gone 16-15 which is still worse than many fans and MLB experts expected for such a young, star-studded team. There have been a few bright spots in the early season, however. The biggest one is two-time National League MVP Bryce Harper making his return to the lineup as the current designated hitter.

With the return of Bryce Harper, the Phillies look to turn things around going forward in the season. The Phillies who reached the World Series in 2022 are hoping for a similar result in 2023. Bryce Harper, who missed the first 29 games of the season, was a star around the league last year. In 99 regular season games for the Phillies Harper batted .286 with an on-base percentage of .364. Harper hit 18 home runs and had 65 runs batted in in his 2022 campaign. These stats disclude the all-time postseason performance that Harper brought to the city of Philadelphia. In the 2022 playoffs, he batted .349 and hit six home runs and 13 runs batted in. Phillies fans around the United States are excited for Harper’s return. Longtime Phillies fan and partial season ticket holder Jeffrey Seiler said, “I expect him [Bryce Harper] to make a massive impact on the lineup and possibly make the Phillies a top three lineup in the MLB. I think his presence alone will be huge, and this will turn their season around.”

As the Phillies go forward with their long season and their star player back, they will look to do better with him in the line up of course. With this being said, however, in six games with Harper back in the lineup, the Phillies are only 1-5. At the early part of the season, the Phillies have relied on young stars such as Bryson Stott and Brandon Marsh, who have provided a huge spark offensively. Once this lineup puts everything together, they are going to be a scary team to pitch against. The Phillies are currently in fourth in the NL East and are eight games back from first place. CBS Sports Analyst, Dayn Perry, said, “The two-time National League MVP will be a welcome presence for Philly. The reigning National League champs are 15-15 and while pitching has been their major problem, getting Harper’s bat back in the lineup will be a boon regardless of where their specific needs lie.”

At this point in the season, the record is not what most Phillies fans wanted to see but there is definitely hope for the rest of the season with many positives moving forward. Pennridge senior Kaetlyn Bridgman said, “I expect the Phillies to contend for one of the top wildcard spots, maybe even go on a big run at winning the division.” Fans are not giving up hope at such an early moment in a long season and neither are Phillies players as they look to turn it around going forward.