MLB

'That's why he's the MVP' – Thomson credits 'incredible' Harper as Phillies reach World Series

By Sports Desk October 24, 2022

Philadelphia Phillies manager Rob Thomson hailed Bryce Harper's big-game mentality after he took the team to their first World Series since 2009.

2021 National League MVP Harper smashed a game-winning home run to left-field as the Phillies overcame the San Diego Padres 4-3 in Game 5 of the NLCS on Sunday, clinching a 4-1 series victory.

Harper's homer, which came at a crucial point of the contest after Padres pitcher Yu Darvish helped the visitors back into contention, means the Phillies will contest their eighth World Series, having previously won it all in 1980 and 2008.

Thomson compared Harper to New York Yankees legend and Baseball Hall of Famer Derek Jeter after the win, describing the 30-year-old as a "superstar". 

"The superstar came and he played and that's why he's the MVP," Thomson said. "Incredible. A lot of times you don't see that. The stars just don't hit. But he hit.

"He's physically and mentally tough and he wants to win. When the moment hits, he doesn't get caught up in it. He just goes out and does his job.

"I saw it a lot in my years with Jeter doing the same thing. Their heart doesn't speed up as much as the guy who's throwing to them. They're even-keeled. They stay in the zone."

Harper, meanwhile, was simply relieved to have avoided another trip to San Diego as he dedicated his series-clinching hit to Philadelphia's fans.

"I just looked at my dugout," Harper said. "It's for all of them. It's for this whole team. It's for this whole organisation. We haven't been here for a long time. It's for every single fan that's here.

"I said it to K-Long [hitting coach Kevin Long], 'let's give them something to remember'. It could have been anybody. I don't care. I just wanted the moment for everybody.

"I was not getting on that flight back. I was not getting on that flight to San Diego. Five and a half hours. No chance."

Philadelphia will face the Houston Astros in the World Series, who are bidding to win it all for the second time after completing a 4-0 series sweep of the Yankees on Sunday.

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