While thrilling in its own right, Bryce Harper‘s debut with the Phillies still lacked one crucial element: a hit. The newly-signed slugger went 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts on Opening Day, crossing the plate only on Rhys Hoskins‘ seventh-inning grand slam.
On Saturday, however, Harper reclaimed his own narrative with a double-deck shot off of left-hander Jessie Biddle. It was his first hit of any variety in a Phillies uniform, and one that sent the fans in Citizens Bank Park into a frenzy.
The solo shot put the Phillies up 7-4 over the visiting Braves. At 113.7-m.p.h. off the bat and a whopping 465 feet into the stands, it’s the second-longest homer Harper has recorded in the Statcast era and, per MLB.com’s David Adler, tied for second-longest by a Phillies player. Harper obliged the fans with a curtain call after circling the bases.
Following Maikel Franco‘s RBI single in the eighth inning, the Phillies currently lead the Braves 8-4 in the ninth. A win would mark their first series-clincher in 2019.
Yesterday’s news about the arrest of Pirates closer Felipe Vázquez was pretty disturbing. Today’s update from Jeff Passan of ESPN is even worse.
Vázquez has been charged with solicitation of a child and providing obscene material to minors, and yesterday’s report said that he texted a 15-year-old girl that he would meet up with her after the season for sex. According to police, however, Vázquez had already met with a minor in an attempt to have sex. When she was 13:
Yesterday Vázquez’s attorney, Jay Reisinger, issued a statement saying “We are in the process of reviewing both the Pennsylvania and Florida charging documents, as well as the underlying facts of the matter. At this time, any comment would be premature.”
The Pennsylvania charges referenced involve an alleged statutory sexual assault of a victim who is at least 16 years old by a person who is at least 11 years older than the victim; unlawful contact with a minor; corruption of a minor by a defendant who is 18 years old or older; and indecent assault of a person less than 16 years old. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported last night that the offenses allegedly occurred on Aug. 1, 2018.
Vázquez is still in Pennsylvania, where he was arrested, and is awaiting extradition to Florida. He was denied bail and was characterized by the arraigning judge as a flight risk. Likely because he is a native and citizen of a foreign country with substantial financial resources.
UPDATE: I had missed this previously, but the Pirates issued a statement about all of this yesterday afternoon: