Phillies Vs. Dodgers Game Preview: Bryce Harper Returns From Tommy John Surgery

The Los Angeles Dodgers are on a season-best four-game winning streak and now face the challenge of Bryce Harper returning from Tommy John surgery as they look to take the series from the Philadelphia Phillies.

Harper is back in the Phillies lineup a mere 160 days after having the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow repaired. Although the superstar slugger was cleared to be activated, Harper can’t yet play the field and is limited to serving as a designated hitter.

After it became apparent Harper would return this week, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts jokingly asked him to wait another few days while the two were on the field before batting practice on Monday.

“I’m going to suck for two days anyway,” Harper shouted back.

The last time Harper was at Dodger Stadium, he made history as a visiting player by having three consecutive games with a home run and at least two extra-base hits. Harper has 10 career home runs against the Dodgers and a total of 31 extra-base hits.

The task of containing him first falls to Julio Urías, who is also looking to regain his momentum. In his last two starts, Urías has given up 11 earned runs over nine innings of work, with four walks and 14 hits in that span.

For the season, Urías is 3-3 with a 4.41 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. Urías is mired in the first three-game losing streak of his career.

The Phillies send out former San Diego Padres starter Matt Strahm. The southpaw has been impressive in 2023, posting a 2.31 ERA and 0.81 WHIP thus far. In his last start against the Seattle Mariners, he pitched 5.1 innings of shutout ball.

Strahm has oscillated between a reliever and starter in his career, with the Phillies giving him a chance to stick in their rotation.

After roughing up the Phillies for 13 runs, Strahm brings his low ERA and Dodgers kryptonite: left-handed pitching. Struggling against left-handers has been a Dodgers trope over the past half-decade.

This season, the Dodgers are hitting just .174/.282/.344 against southpaws, with only 11 home runs and 20 extra-base hits in 240 at-bats. Against right-handed pitching, the Dodgers are batting .249/.342/.480 with 40 home runs.

The Dodgers are rolling out a right-handed heavy lineup, with Mookie Betts returning to right field.

Dodgers lineup

RF: Mookie Betts
1B: Freddie Freeman
DH: Will Smith
3B: Max Muncy
LF: Chris Taylor
CF: James Outman
2B: Miguel Vargas
SS: Miguel Rojas
C: Austin Barnes

Phillies lineup

LF: Kyle Schwarber
SS: Trea Turner
DH: Bryce Harper
RF: Nick Castellanos
2B: Bryson Stott
C: J.T. Realmuto
1B: Alec Bohm
CF: Brandon Marsh
3B: Edmundo Sosa

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