PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — The Philadelphia Phillies’ $330 million man knows he needs to be better. Bryce Harper, who has been hearing relentless boos from fans during a three-week slump, spoke to 94WIP about his recent struggles at the plate.
Harper said he went through a similar slump last year with the Washington Nationals, before ending the season with 34 home runs and 100 RBI.
“Did I think I was going to go through it again right now? No, I didn’t. But in sports, things happen, it’s part of the journey, it’s part of the life. Of course, I don’t want to struggle. I don’t want to go out there and go 0-4 and punch out two or three times. I mean that’s not who I am, that’s not how I want to be. I gotta get better, I gotta be better, and everybody knows that,” Harper said. “I know that myself and when I walk off the field at night, the game is over. I gotta turn the page and get back to the next day and I think that’s the beautiful thing about baseball.”
Despite leading the National League in walks at 33, he’s striking out at an alarming rate, leading all of baseball with 57 strikeouts.
Through 42 games, Harper is batting .220 with seven home runs and 25 RBI.
“Big thing for me is that I gotta hit,” Harper told 94WIP. “I enjoy hitting, I enjoy going to the plate and doing those things. I mean, I just want to win ballgames man, with the Phillies on my chest and with the guys that we do have in our clubhouse. We have a special group, we have a special team, and I look forward to going out there and playing the game the right way every single day and trying to get the job done.”
Many are wondering if Harper should take a day off, but the All-Star outfielder wants to stay on the field.
“I’m not sure a day off is going to work for me mentally or physically or anything like that,” Harper told reporters Tuesday. “I just need to keep grinding, keep trying to get through it.”
Harper had said he wanted to play all 162 games. Manager Gabe Kapler said Harper was “healthy, confident and wants to play.”
“I don’t have a tangible reason why we shouldn’t play him,” Kapler said. “We think he gives us our best chance to win tonight. We think he will be positively impacted by being in tonight’s lineup. We’ll consider it on a day-to-day basis. He and I will have those conversations.”
Despite Harper’s struggles, the Phillies currently sit atop the National League East with a 24-18 record.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)