Slumping Phils to bat Harper leadoff Thursday


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The Philadelphia Phillies have put outfielder Bryce Harper into the leadoff spot for Thursday night’s game against the Washington Nationals in hopes of putting a spark back into the top of their lineup.

Since June 4, when Andrew McCutchen suffered a season-ending knee injury, Phillies leadoff hitters have ranked last in batting average (.115), on-base percentage (.220), slugging percentage (.154) and OPS (.374). They also have just one extra-base hit in 13 games.

McCutchen had a .378 on-base percentage and .457 slugging percentage before his injury and was hitting .256 with 10 home runs and 29 RBIs.

Harper hit leadoff 16 times with the Nationals in 2013 and occasionally in 2018 when he was struggling.

This season, his first with the Phillies after signing a 13-year, $330 million contract, Harper is batting .243 with 12 home runs and 49 RBIs.

The Phillies, who were swept in a doubleheader by the Nationals on Wednesday, have lost three straight and seven of their past nine games. They trail the Atlanta Braves by four games in the NL East standings.

ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.

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