PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Bryce Harper knows how to put on a show, and how to put it on the yard Philadelphia Phillies owner John Middleton million of his "stupid" money. It's turning out to be so stupid after all.
Harper has just shifted the narrative over the past few weeks to one with fans yelling about his batting average on sports radio to The One Where Bryce Harper's Is Worth $ 330 Million.
The Phillies came home from the last week with a little hope of ending the fifth-longest active playoff drought in baseball. The open, since the All-Star break, had been among the worst in MLB, coupled with inconsistent pitching and a bullpen ravaged by injuries.
Then came on Tuesday when the Phillies' front office sent a message to a fan base that it's Matt Klentak fired hitting coach John Mallee and hired franchise legend Charlie Manuel.
The Phillies' offense appeared headed for hittin 'season after Manuel's first three games – 26 runs, 35 hits and seven homers – but the inconsistency returned against the Padres.
Harper's power surge is for real.
Harper's power surge is for real. Mallee.
Harper had been focused on the Phillies since the break. Since the calendar flipped to August, Harper's at-bats have become must-watch TV.
John Kruk's Priceless Reaction To Bryce Harper's Monstrous Walk-off Grand Slam Goes Viral [19659002ThePhilliesdepartforBostonisstillinthemidstofaplayoffraceTheoffense'sletterexplosionsignaledthatthisteammighthavearuninthemanditstillmayTheweekendwasabadonebuttheyremaininthehunt
If they make a run, it'll be the bats.
After going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts Tuesday, Harper staged a performance well worth the cost of admission. In Manuel's first three games back, Harper went 6 for 12 with four homers, 10 RBI and an eye-popping 2.071 OPS.
He executed a 95 mph cutter from Cubs lefty Derek Holland for a walk-off grand slam that broke the internet on Thursday one night after a multi-homer game.
– Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) August 16, 2019
Harper has thrown the weight of the Phillies on his back in August. Let's dive into the numbers just to see how hot the Phillies' $ 330 million one has been.
- In the first 15 games of August, Harper hit .271 with 8 home runs, 18 RBI, 1,064 OPS
- Compared to Ryan Howard's first 15 games in his memorable 2006 August:
- Howard, 2006: .377, 6 home runs, 19 RBI, 1,198 OPS
- Harper's driven in 18 of the team's 84 runs in August – 21.4%.
- In his last 30 games, he has 10 homers and 28 RBI with a .997 OPS.
None of this should be too all During his 2015 MVP season, Harper hit .327 / .460 / .449 with a .909 OPS partnered with two homers and nine RBI in August.
Then in 2016, he slugged .310 / .398 / .536 with a .934 OPS partnered with three homers and 19 RBI in August. Over his career, he's hit .291 with 37 home runs and 118 RBI in the month.
One of the legitimate gripes about Harper's first season in Philadelphia before the All-Star break was his power production.
He had just 16 homers in the first 90 games, which simply does not have a hitter-friendly ballpark.
WATCH: Bryce Harper Calls Out Parents For Possibly Missing Walk -Off Grand Slam
Harper, however, has found his power in the second half with 10 long balls in 33 games and is on pace to shatter his career-high RBI total of 100.
At this rate , Harper is projected to club 34 homers and 118 RBI.
Whether or not he finishes the season with those numbers – barring injury – he'll just set a career high in RBI as he has already 90 with 38 games to go.
He's just the second Phillies left-handed hitter with 90 RBI in a season since 2010, joining Howard.
Throughout it, Harper has dispensed the notion that he's a defensive liability.
The Phillies signed Harper to be the face of the franchise, to provide this lineup has been ' t Bryce Harper.
Harper has held up his end of the bargain.