Coming off big game, Phillies’ Bryce Harper ready for Giants

MLB

Bryce Harper missed Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals with back tightness.

On Sunday, Harper missed nothing.

Harper homered, doubled, singled and walked to help lift the Philadelphia Phillies above .500. Harper will look to stay hot when the Phillies open a three-game home series on Monday against the San Francisco Giants.

Harper had back issues at times last season, so second-year manager Joe Girardi remains fully aware how to balance days off for his standout right fielder.

“I can tell you from experience,” Girardi said. “I’ve worked and worked and worked, and I still work and work and work, and every once in a while you just kind of feel a little cranky. But I was able to play whole seasons, and every once in a while I would just need a day. I don’t think he’s any different than the regular population.”

The Phillies will send Chase Anderson to the mound on Monday.

Anderson (0-1, 4.00 ERA) tossed only nine total innings in his first two starts against the New York Mets. In his career against the Giants, he is 3-2 with a 4.76 ERA in nine starts.

The 33-year-old Anderson finished 53-40 with a 3.94 ERA in 166 appearances with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers from 2014-19. He did struggle a bit last season with a 1-2 mark and 7.22 ERA with the Toronto Blue Jays.

If the Phillies are able to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2011, they’ll need a strong performance from Anderson and Matt Moore at the back end of the starting rotation.

The same goes for the offense, extending beyond the starting lineup.

“You have to play well every month if you want to make the playoffs,” Girardi said.

The Giants will be looking for their second straight win when they visit Philadelphia.

After dropping the first two games in Miami, they responded with a 1-0 victory in the series finale Sunday. The Giants have still won nine of their 15 games to start the season heading into Monday.

This game will hold special significance for Giants manager Gabe Kapler, who spent 2018 and ’19 as the Phillies’ manager before being replaced with Girardi.

Kapler, in his second season with the Giants, will visit Philadelphia for the first time since being fired.

“I feel like I had a chance with two baseball teams that were a lot of fun to work with,” Kapler said. “I don’t regret any lack of opportunity or anything like that. It’s just not how I look back on my time. I did the best job that I could every day, it didn’t work out. I understand.”

The Giants will hand the ball to Kevin Gausman (0-0, 3.20), who has lasted at least six innings in all three starts. In Gausman’s last start, he gave up five runs in the first two innings to the Cincinnati Reds but rallied to retire the final 13 hitters.

“The guys just battled and put together a bunch of good at-bats,” Gausman said. “(Evan Longoria) told me to keep my head down, keep going, keep grinding, we’re going to win this game. With these guys you feel pretty confident that eventually they’re going to get the job done.”

The Giants placed right-hander Logan Webb and closer Jake McGee on the injured list Sunday after side effects from their second COVID-19 vaccine injection.

–Field Level Media

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