The 69-55 Philadelphia Phillies are finally playing like a legitimate playoff contender.
After a 11-11 April and 10-18 May, they fired manager Joe Girardi in early June.
Since then, they have been playing a lot better.
They went 19-8 in June, 15-10 in July, and are currently 14-8 in August.
Their 20-12 record in the second half is a closer representation of their talent level.
To make matters even more promising, they are about to get back a marquee reinforcement: outfielder Bryce Harper.
Yes, the reigning 2021 NL MVP is about to return from his thumb injury.
“News: Bryce Harper could be added to the #Phillies active roster today or tomorrow, as we discussed this morning on @MLBNetwork. Harper last played at the @MLB level on June 25; the Phillies are 31-20 since then. Philadelphia currently holds the second NL Wild Card spot,” MLB insider Jon Morosi tweeted.
Harper last played at the @MLB level on June 25; the Phillies are 31-20 since then.
Philadelphia currently holds the second NL Wild Card spot.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) August 25, 2022
He Is More Than Ready
After he went 5-for-8 with two homers, two doubles, six RBI, and three runs scored in two minor league rehab games at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, we would say he is ready.
Harper will be returning to a .318 batting average, 49 runs, 15 homers, 48 RBI, nine stolen bases, and a rock solid .984 OPS.
Winning a second straight MVP award seems highly unlikely given his prolonged absence, but he can do something even better: make sure the Phillies hold on to that postseason spot.
You probably don’t need us to tell you Harper is good enough to achieve that and more.
The Phillies’ race is not with intra-division rivals like the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves: their race is with the Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, and the San Francisco Giants.
Right now, their odds of making it to October are high, and now that they will have their best player for the stretch run, they are looking even better.