Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper reached two career milestones with one swing on Wednesday night against the Braves. He just wishes it happened under better circumstances. In the sixth inning, Harper put the Phillies on the board with a solo home run off of Bryse Wilson, notching both his 1,000th career hit and 200th career home run.
The homer made it a 3-1 game and the Phillies would add another one in the inning. However, the Braves would tag Nick Pivetta and Juan Nicasio for six runs in the bottom half of the frame to take a commanding 9-2 lead.
Harper is hitting .248/.364/.473 with 16 home runs, 60 RBI, and 51 runs scored in 374 plate appearances on the season. He’s on pace for 705 PA, which also puts him on pace for 30 homers, 113 RBI, and 96 runs scored. His rate stats still aren’t where they should be, but his counting stats are there at least.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed it in March and he confirmed it again on Tuesday: Clayton Kershaw will start on Opening Day, Jorge Castillo of The Los Angeles Times reports.
The Dodgers are one of four teams that will open the 60-game regular season schedule on July 23; everyone else begins play on the 24th. With a 10 PM ET start, the Dodgers will host the Giants at Dodger Stadium.
Johnny Cueto will likely pitch opposite Kershaw for the Giants. Cueto was named the Giants’ Opening Day starter on March 11, before the league shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Manager Gabe Kapler hasn’t yet officially named an Opening Day starter for the makeshift season.
Kershaw, 32, made the Opening Day start eight consecutive times for the Dodgers from 2011-18. Hyun-Jin Ryu, now a Blue Jay, pitched on Opening Day last season for the Dodgers. Last year, Kershaw logged 178 1/3 innings over 28 starts and one relief appearance, his highest innings total since 2015. He went 16-5 with a 3.03 ERA, 189 strikeouts, and 41 walks.