Before the at-bat, Harper had told Long: “Let’s give them something to recollect.” When he saw Harper take the changeup, Long said he knew Harper would make good on that promise. The following pitch was a 99 mile-an-hour sinker on the surface corner, and Harper unloaded.
“He took that swing — pandemonium,” left fielder Kyle Schwarber said.
Starter Zack Wheeler, who worked into the seventh inning, was icing his knee within the trainers’ room while Harper batted. The sport was on the tv, but the gang also told him what happened.
“I used to be just laying there on my back, however it’s pretty cool watching the windows shake,” Wheeler said. “That was pretty wild.”
The Phillies had gotten their other two runs on one other two-run homer, by first baseman Rhys Hoskins within the third inning. Hoskins bounded joyously down the primary bottom line, shouting on the Phillies’ bench and flinging his bat, whirling it like a helicopter blade. It was a trendy celebration to pair with Hoskins’ primal bat slam within the division series against Atlanta, but that was not Harper’s style.
Harper slowed on his trot to first, stared at his teammates, stretched each arms by his sides and shook them — almost casually, as if loosening a windbreaker. To Castellanos, who played with Harper on the amateur circuit, it was a telling response.
“So that is where I do know that he’s grown as an individual,” Castellanos said. “He hit a walk-off home run against us against the Cubs, in 2019, and in case you remember, the best way he ran across the bases was crazy energetic. Right there, when he hit it, he was the calmest person within the stadium.”
That’s it — right there — the key to handling postseason pressure: Should you can stay calm amid the chaos and be yourself, that’s while you deliver. When Bryce Harper is himself, there’s no person higher. Now he can show it within the World Series.