Phillies could be without Bryce Harper, Jean Segura Wednesday night vs. Dodgers

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Phillies could be without their best and most dangerous hitters in L.A. originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Phillies are back in a place they don’t want to be but know well.

They are under .500.

A stirring homestand in which they won six of eight ballgames has been followed by two straight losses to the Dodgers in Los Angeles. The Phillies’ bullpen allowed single runs in the seventh and eighth innings en route to a 5-3 loss Tuesday night. That came after a 3-1 loss Monday night. 

After briefly stepping into the background, an old bugaboo has come back to haunt the Phils. They've gone 2 for 20 with runners in scoring position in the two games. They enter Wednesday night’s series finale in Dodger Stadium at 32-33, five games behind the first-place New York Mets in the NL East.

On top of the two losses, the Phillies have lost two important players — for how long, we’ll see.

Bryce Harper left Tuesday night’s game with a recurrence of the lower-back issue that cost him playing time late last season and sidelined him for a day earlier this season. Manager Joe Girardi said Harper experienced stiffness in the area and listed his status as day-to-day.

Given Harper’s growing history with this problem, there has to be long-term concern about his back, and that’s a sobering reality considering he’s signed for another decade. In the short term, it’s doubtful he will be in the starting lineup against Dodgers’ lefty Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday night. In addition to back stiffness, Harper has battled a wrist contusion and a sore shoulder this season.

While Harper is the Phillies’ most dangerous hitter, Jean Segura is their best and hottest.

He will be out Wednesday night, and possibly longer, after injuring a groin while running out a ball in the ninth inning of Tuesday night’s game.

Segura is hitting a team-high .332 with 11 hits in his last five games. He went 12 for 28 with three extra-base hits and eight RBIs on the recently completed homestand and had two walk-off hits to help the Phillies briefly get over .500.

Girardi indicated that Segura’s injury could be more serious than Harper’s. Segura’s was sudden, acute, while Harper’s is more chronic.

“I’m not so sure that’s day to day,” Girardi said of Segura’s injury.

Earlier this season, Segura injured a quad muscle while running the bases. He spent time on the injured list.

Starting shortstop Didi Gregorius is already on the IL with swelling in his right elbow. (The team is now calling it pseudogout.) Ronald Torreyes has been holding down the shortstop position with Gregorius out. Luke Williams and Nick Maton, who could be recalled from Triple A, could pick up reps at second if Segura needs to go on the IL. Neither, however, have the offensive track record of Segura, so losing the player will be a serious blow. The Phillies' offense has already taken a hit with Rhys Hoskins mired in an 0-for-33 slump.

The Phillies have Mickey Moniak and Adam Haseley on the 40-man roster at Triple A if they need an outfielder.

The injuries to Harper and Segura come at a time when the Phillies thought they were getting whole. Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Archie Bradley had all come back from the injured list in recent weeks. Gregorius was nearing a return until he had a flareup last week. Injuries, like poor defense and poor performance with runners in scoring position, have been a bane for this team and now it’s happening again.

“It's tough,” Girardi said after Tuesday night’s game. “I'm not sure exactly what this means. But we're going to need some guys to step up tomorrow.”

The Phils need a win Wednesday night to avoid a sweep. Though they will likely be without Harper and Segura, they have something going for them. Starting pitcher Zack Wheeler is coming off eight shutout innings and 12 strikeouts against the Braves. He has a 2.29 ERA in 13 starts and is striking out 11.2 hitters per nine innings. Wheeler will need to be stingy because Kershaw, a three-time NL Cy Young winner, is having a strong season. He is 8-5 with a 3.39 ERA, a 0.972 WHIP and 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings. 

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