Phillies need more from Bryce Harper during final stretch

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 21: Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies reacts after being called out on strikes in the eighth inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on July 21, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 21: Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies reacts after being called out on strikes in the eighth inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on July 21, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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With the Philadelphia Phillies currently sitting in third place in the division, Bryce Harper needs to step up more than ever over these final few months.

Back in the offseason when the Philadelphia Phillies signed Bryce Harper to a whopping 13-year, $330 million deal, right away there was immediate speculation over whether the team was overpaying the star outfielder.

As great as Harper was to start off his career with the Washington Nationals, $330 million is a lot to play one individual player, and while most fans didn’t seem to mind the deal, there were also some who were concerned over whether he would struggle to live up to the hype.

Obviously, it’s still way too early to determine whether this deal will turn out to be a complete bust for the Phillies, but also with the team’s current situation, it’s difficult not to draw assumptions already.

All seemed well at first for Philadelphia over the first couple of months, but the fact that the Phillies currently sit in third place in the NL East standings shows why the pressure is beginning to pile up.

While Harper doesn’t deserve all of the blame since the Phillies have numerous areas in need of improvement, the argument can be made that he should be doing more for Philadelphia on offense.

Harper knew that a hefty deal would come with all sorts of extra pressure, and even though there have been numerous occasions in which he’s come up big, Philadelphia still needs to see more from their star outfielder.

Heading into Saturday night’s game with the Phillies, Harper is currently batting .256 with 17 home runs and 71 RBIs.

Sure, these numbers aren’t exactly all that terrible, but for a player making the kind of money that Harper is earning, it’s easy to make the case that Philadelphia expected more.

Not to mention, while it’s been great to see Harper record seven multi-hit games throughout the month of July so far, the last time he recorded more than two hits in a game came all the way back on June 30.

This may not seem like that big of a deal, but for a player like Harper, it’s just another example of how the Phillies have every reason to be expecting more from the 26-year-old.

Since the start of August is right around the corner, Philadelphia is running out of time to play catch up in the National League playoff picture.

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Harper’s level of play isn’t going to be the only factor over whether the Phillies have what it takes to participate in October baseball, but if he can elevate his game over the final two months, this certainly would help Philadelphia in a big way.