Orlando Ramirez-USA Today Sports

On June 3, firing manager Joe Girardi said the Phillies have made significant progress toward a return to the playoff hunt, but their chances were hit hard on Saturday night. In the fourth inning of his game with the Padres in San Diego, Bryce Harper was hit by a 97-mile-long black snail fastball, fractured his left thumb and was pulled out of the lineup indefinitely.

When Harper was hit, his hands were so close to his head that at first he seemed to be hit in the face. Even after it became clear that this did not happen, it was revealed that his injury was significant:

“I kind of wish he’d hit me in the face,” Harper later told reporters, conveniently forgetting many of the beanings that make a career change. “I don’t break the bones of my face. I can take 98 on the face, but I can’t take 97 on the thumb. ”

Harper, 29, the most valuable player in the National League, was already playing through a torn Alnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, the injury was diagnosed in mid-May, after which he received a platelet-enrichment injection. Plasma tears are apparently detectable April 11 Fake From April 17, Harper was confined from right field to assigned heater duty. Last week, he missed three games due to an infected sore on the bottom of his left hand finger.

Despite a corner injury, Harper has thrived. He hits .318 / .385 / .599 with 15 homers, second in the NL with both his slugging percentage and 166 wRC + – the latter mark just four points below last year’s major league-leading figure – and his 2.7 WAR ninth. This month, as the team leveled at 18-6 (17-6 since Girardi was shot, including Saturday and Sunday wins over Padres), Harper hit .359 / .455 / .641 (201 wRC +), bringing offense to the deal. But as of this writing, he is the third of the top 10 players in the NL’s WAR to be sidelined due to injury, with Manny Machado (left ankle nausea) and Mookie Bates (torn rib) joining the virtual infirmary.

Although moving to DH kept Harper in the lineup, it added to the already obvious defensive crisis for the Phillies, as Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos, the team’s two big money-free agents, had to play outfield at the same time last winter. Time to put their bat in the lineup. As such, the team finished eighth in the NL in defensive performance on Sunday (.688, four points above the league average) but finished second to last in both defensive runs saved (-26) and fielded runs (-21). Castellanos (-12 DRS, -6 RAA) and Schwarber (-2 DRS, -4 RAA) have both played their part in reducing these numbers, as well as hitting only 93 wRC + this year (.252 / .306 /. 387), makes the tradeoff even worse. The team’s defensive position has been further enhanced by the defeat of the most defensively in-field in the group, Jean Segura, in the trio of Rhys Hoskins, Didi Gregorius and Alec Bohm, combined for the -10 DRS and -11 RAA. It will be out in 10-12 weeks.

Segura – not the second baseman producer to replace Bryson Stott, Johan Camargo and Yaro Munoz. In fact, with the exception of Harper, only Hoskins (172 wRC + in 99 PA) and Schwarber (183 wRC + in 104 PA) have committed better-than-average offenses while playing regularly in June. The efforts of those three sluggers are still enough to push Phillies ’wRC + to 112 for the month, 14 points above their mark by May. Nevertheless, the team’s turn is related to the improved run restriction:

Phillies by month

April 11-11 4.55 .244 .318 .400 100 4.00 3.94 3.81 3.83 3.74
May 10-18 4.43 .244 .305 .402 96 4.86 3.95 3.18 4.55 4.19
June 18-6 5.33 .247 .325 .433 112 3.88 3.15 3.49 3.99 3.72

How long Harper can stay out, Phillies will get more clarity after his assessment in Philadelphia, maybe early Monday. Via Philadelphia InquirerOf Alex Coffey, “Harper said he would see a doctor who specializes in toe injuries when he returned to Philadelphia. He will see another expert if necessary. [President of baseball operations Dave] Dombrowski said it was too early to say whether surgery was necessary.

MLBcom’s Todd Zolsky recently cited an estimated recovery time of four to six weeks for the three players who broke their thumbs: Harper’s teammate JT Realmuto (February), Reds ‘Tyler Stephenson (earlier this month) and Giants’ Brandon Belt (last September). ). The Baseball Prospectus’ Recovery Dashboard lists 13 position players with thumb fractures between 2016 and ’21, reporting an average absence of 35 days and an average absence of 18 days. However, the data is subject to distortion due to injuries in the latter part of the season from which there was no return that year with the belt. In addition, both median and median are 39 days, which are appropriate in the four-to-six-week range; Harper’s absence from surgery, like Segura’s, will be in the 10-12-week range.

With Harper out, the good news is that the team could return to Datching one of the corner corner outfielders mentioned above, but the bad news is that there are no additional MVP-caliber sluggers sitting there. Mickey Moniac, who was called in to take Harper’s roster spot from Triple-A Lehai Valley, has only the uniform and has the status of picking the previous No. 1 pick in Harper’s draft; He has reached just .139 / .244 / .181 in the last three seasons with a 39.3% strikeout rate in 84 PAs. On Sunday, Matt Wearling started right on the field and went 4-2-4 with a double, but he hit just .239 / .297 / .370 (86 wRC +) this year. According to Harper’s prognosis, it is possible that Dombrovsky could trade for a stronger bat, but Phillies’ farm system is the weakest in the game and strip-mining would be unfavorable for long shots.

Yet the defeat is a major blow to the team’s playoff hopes. Last week, Dan Szimborski crunched the numbers and found that according to ZiPS, Harper is the fifth-most unchanging player in the NL, although only one of the third is an eyelid; If he loses the rest of the season, the team’s playoff odds will drop by 8.4%. Here’s what Szymborski has to say:

Remember, Philly originally needed to sign Nick Castellano and Kyle Schwarber Reason Their outfield options were bleak, and the problem hasn’t been magically resolved since April. Any outfield injury could cause Matt Wiring to suffer too much, which is very close to his 2022 line last season short sample .324 / .364 / .479 line. ZiPS doesn’t even see Mickey Monique as a decent emergency plan, Philadelphia’s best option is to trade for someone like Tommy Pham, something complicated by the fact that the organization has had a lot of failures in player development lately.

Other pending free agent outfielders that may be available for trade include Royals ‘Andrew Benitendi, Diamondback’s David Peralta, Athletics’ Chad Pinder and White Sox’s AJ Pollock. None of them are game-changers and again, there is no possibility of bringing game-changers back into the Phillies system.

Looking more closely at the team’s playoff odds, here’s where they stand now after Friday’s defeat (Harper’s final full game):

Changes in Phillies playoff odds

Date W. L. W% GB Win Div Clinch by Clinch WC Playoff WS won
June 24 37 35 .514 9 2.4% 2.0% 29.8% 32.3% 2.3%
June 26 39 35 .527 8 2.2% 1.8% 29.8% 32.1% 1.6%
Change -0.2% -0.2% 0.0% -0.2% -0.7%

Winning two games in a row, trimming one game from the division lead and pulling in one game from the third NL Wild Card spot is a big shock: the team’s chances of winning the World Series were reduced by about 30%. Dial back on June 18, when the Phillies had a season-high five games over .500 (36–31), and they lost 12.8 points in the playoff odds (from 44.9%) and 1.3 points (from 2.9%) in the World Series odds – and They play for the Nationals and Rangers as well as the Padres.

One only needs to look back to last July, when the Braves lost Ronald Akuna Jr. to a torn ACL at the end of the season and hovered around the .500 for the rest of the month before the warm-up, making the playoffs and winning the World Series. , To imagine that a happy outcome is still possible for Phyllis. They’re in better condition than the Braves, with the possibility of Harper coming back, and they have a strong spin, but it’s a fool’s errand to strike twice at lightning. The team is already battling to overcome its flawed design. It was more difficult to do without Harper for a month or two.