Bryce Harper Says He Deserves to Be Booed by Phillies Fans Amid Batting Slump

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 1, 2019

Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper drops a ball hit by the Detroit Tigers' Niko Goodrum during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, April 30, 2019, in Philadelphia. The Tigers won 3-1. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Matt Rourke/Associated Press

A rough opening month has Bryce Harper understanding why Philadelphia Phillies fans have started to vent their frustration with the former National League MVP. 

After being booed during Tuesday's 3-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers, Harper told reporters fans are right to be upset with his early-season performance. 

"I'd do the same thing," he said. "It's not fun to lose, not fun to watch when you're playing that way. (I was) 0-for-4 with two punchies. I'm probably thinking the same thing walking back to the dugout."

In addition to going 0-for-4 in the batter's box against the Tigers, Harper committed an error when he misplayed a routine fly ball from Niko Goodrum in the top of the eighth. 

Harper's first full month in Philadelphia has been erratic. He is hitting a respectable .240/.388/.490 with six homers and is tied with teammate Andrew McCutchen for the NL lead with 23 walks. 

Per FanGraphs, Harper's 29.5 percent strikeout rate in 2019 is the highest of his MLB career. 

Most players would be happy to have an OPS of .878 through 29 games, but Harper has the second-largest contract in MLB history. That is going to put a larger spotlight on everything he does, for better and for worse. 

It's still very early and Harper's track record suggests things will improve as the season goes on. The Phillies are leading the NL East at 16-13 despite not having their best player on top form.