Not bad considering he was “really hurting,” according to Girardi, after Tuesday’s doubleheader.
“Just got the treatment that I needed and kind of activated (his body) in a sequence just so I kind of stayed hot during the game,” Harper said. “Leading up to the game, getting into my workout, getting into the cage, and then getting right into the ballgame, I just got ready to the best of my ability.”
Looking back, Harper isn’t exactly sure how he injured his back but said it flared up at a time when he happened to be carrying the Phillies’ offense on it.
Harper pointed to Aug. 21, when Girardi gave him a night off in the opener of a series in Atlanta, as the origin of his back pain. At the time, he was batting .338 with six homers and a 1.147 OPS in 86 plate appearances. Since then, he’s hitting .205 with seven homers and an .819 OPS in 145 plate appearances.
“I’ve just tried to play through it,” Harper said, noting that it has been more difficult during a stretch of 31 games in 27 days, including five doubleheaders in 15 days.
The good news for Harper is that his back will get better with rest. The bad news is that he will have to grit his teeth through three games at Tampa Bay because the Phillies’ quest to snap an eight-season playoff drought will almost certainly go down to the wire.