The Atlanta Braves should know better -- mock Bryce Harper at your own risk.
Harper was doubled off at first base on the incredible play by Michael Harris II in center field. Perhaps just as important was the reaction by Austin Riley, who immediately tracked into the infield in hopes of making a throw to first base. When the ball found Riley, he was in perfect position to double off Harper.
"He made a good play," Harper told reporters after the game. "You know, I probably shouldn't have gone over second base. But I made a decision, and I'll live with that. ...Just taking a chance. Michael made a great play and doubled me up. Tough way to end it."
Had the line drive landed in play, Harper would've scored easily from first base. He took a gamble and it didn't pay off. Baseball truly is a game of inches.
Braves mock Phillies star Bryce Harper after Game 2
Harper and the Phillies were able to secure a 1-1 draw heading back to Philadelphia, which was their ultimate goal. Stealing a game on the road in such a hostile environment is not easy, as the Braves will soon find out at Citizens Bank Park. Perhaps even tougher, however, is doing so when the home team has bulletin-board material. Orlando Arcia provided that on Monday night.
Harper can surely motivate himself, but receiving this kind of ammo heading into a two-game stretch in front of his own fans can only help matters. Phillies fans cannot believe Harper and the team were gifted such an opportunity by Orlando Arcia.
Phillies fans have declared war on Arcia, and he will hear from them in waves on Wednesday, when the series resumes. The Braves can handle some criticism -- they were going to get booed anyway, of course -- but Arcia better be prepared to back up his smack talk.