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Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

With just 43 games left to play, the Phillies end their road trip with a 3-3 record, just before they return home to Citizens Bank Park to face the New York Mets. 

This series has potential to make or break the team’s confidence, as the Mets are a tough team to beat. In their most recent series vs the Mets, the games were very close and required more strategy in order to come out with a win. 

Fortunately, Kyle Schwarber who has been down with a mild right calf strain, should return to the lineup this weekend. Phils Insider Jim Salisbury spoke to Rob Thomson earlier this week who said, “We’ll probably wait till Friday” to get him back in the lineup. 

Schwarber’s bat will most definitely be needed in the Mets series, as they need to score as many runs as they can vs. their division rivals. 

After the Mets series, the Phils schedule lightens, as they finish the month of August playing the Reds, Pirates and Diamondbacks, all of which have below .500 records. These series should immensely help the Phils’ playoff chances heading into September. 

However, the Phillies heart and soul of the team is still recovering from injury, none other than Bryce Harper himself. The two-time MVP took batting practice on Monday at Citizens Bank Park, and said he felt great. Yesterday, #3 took the cage again, with a special pitcher on the mound, his dad Ron Harper.

This dynamic duo routinely practices together in the off season, and also made a big league appearance when Bryce won the Home Run Derby in 2018. Harper said that nobody knows his swing better.  

Manager Rob Thomson told reporters that they’re hoping to send Harper to play a minor-league rehab assignment next week to the Phillies top three affiliates– Lehigh Valley, Reading and Jersey Shore. This is fantastic news, however, the team is not in a huge rush to get him back in the Phillies lineup. 

“I want to be playing at a high level when I get back,” Harper said after getting the pins removed from his surgically repaired thumb. “Not just, ‘Hey, I’m back in the lineup,’ but getting back and playing at a high level knowing I’ve got at-bats under me.”

With high hopes, the Phillies look to have Harper back as the DH, by early September, ready to carry the team to the playoffs for the first time since 2011. 

The Phillies will play Game 1 of the 4 game series vs. the Mets on Friday at 7:05. Aaron Nola will face Chris Bassitt on the mound. Let’s go Phils! 

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