PHILS OFFENSE SUCKS — BRYCE HARPER CAN’T RETURN SOON ENOUGH!

By Sam Bush

If you still doubt how important Bryce Harper is to the Phillies offense, you simply haven’t been paying attention.

They scraped out one run last night in losing to the Braves after putting up a mighty 3 Tuesday night in another loss.

Lucky for the Phils, they are still only 3 games out of the wild card with 86 games to play

Adam Duvall homered, Kyle Wright tossed seven shutdown innings and the Braves beat Phillies 4-1.

Matt Olson hit a pair of doubles and William Contreras and Michael Harris II also had RBI for the Braves.

Rhys Hoskins homered and doubled for Phils without Harper for the third straight game. Harper had successful surgery on his broken left thumb earlier in the day.

“We have to remind ourselves that we can’t replace him. There’s no replacing him,” Hoskins said of Harper.

“If we just be ourselves, with the caliber of players we have in this room – sure, of course, we’ll miss him – but it doesn’t mean we can’t get to where we want to go with the guys in this room if we commit to being ourselves.”

There is no timetable for Harper’s return, but the Phillies remain hopeful the 2021 NL MVP can play again this season.

After Hoskins’ solo shot off the left-field foul pole in the third put Philadelphia ahead, the Braves took control against Ranger Suarez (6-5).

Atlanta took a 2-1 lead with a pair of runs in the fourth. Olson led off with his second double of the contest and 43rd extra-base hit of the season before scoring on Contreras’ single.

It looked as if the inning was over when Duvall was ruled out at first to complete a 6-4-3 double play, but the call was overturned after a video review and Marcell Ozuna scored on the grounder.

“Huge in a game like this,” Snitker said of Duvall’s hustle down the line.

Duvall’s solo homer and Harris’ RBI single both came with two outs in the seventh, padding the Braves’ margin to three runs.

With closer Kenley Jansen sidelined on the 15-day IL with an irregular heartbeat, Will Smith finished with a perfect ninth, striking out two, for his third save in six chances.

Suarez gave up four runs on six hits with seven strikeouts and two walks.

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