Bryce Harper hopes to be in the lineup when the Philadelphia Phillies host the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series.

Harper has been dealing with a torn ligament in his right elbow since the middle of April, but he was scratched from the Wednesday game against the San Francisco Giants because of a sore forearm. Harper, though, said on Wednesday he expects to play Friday.

“That’s the goal,” he said after the Phillies beat the Giants 6-5 to snap a five-game losing streak. “I just felt it the last couple days, just the soreness. (Wednesday), I kind of woke up pretty stiff. I just didn’t feel right to get in there and get it going. I didn’t want to (miss) three days or four days instead of just one or two days.”

Friday’s game will mark the managerial debut of Phillies interim skipper Rob Thomson. Philadelphia fired manager Joe Girardi on Friday morning after a 22-29 start to the season and a 132-141 mark in two-plus seasons with the club.

The Phillies were off Thursday, giving Harper an extra day to rest his arm. He doesn’t think the soreness is a sign he further damaged his ulnar collateral ligament.

“I think it’s more just general soreness in that area,” he said. “It could be from anything. It could be from exercises that I’m doing or trying to build up that area. Or it could be from swinging or anything. I just felt like (Wednesday) probably wasn’t the best day for me to go out there and try to swing the bat.”

If he does play, it will be a rare matchup between Harper and Angels center fielder Mike Trout, whose careers have paralleled each other’s over the past 10 years.

Both won the Rookie of the Year award in 2012, Harper in the National League while playing for the Washington Nationals, Trout in the American League. (Trout played 40 games in 2011 but maintained his rookie status for 2012.)

Trout is a three-time MVP and a nine-time All-Star. Harper is a two-time MVP and a six-time All-Star. Trout has 1,468 career hits, including 323 home runs, 281 doubles and 50 triples, plus 203 stolen bases. Harper has 1,327 hits, including 277 homers, 288 doubles and 23 triples, plus 117 stolen bases.

However, they have played in the same game against each other only four times — three games in 2014 and one in 2017, Harper playing for Washington at the time.

In those four games, Trout batted .333 (6-for-18) with one homer, one double and three RBIs. Harper hit .333 (5-for-15) with one homer, one triple and one RBI.

The series also is a homecoming of sorts for Trout, who grew up in Millville, N.J., about 40 miles south of Citizens Bank Park, which is hosting “Millville Pride Night” on Friday. Trout hasn’t played in Philadelphia in eight years.

“It was a great experience in 2014, and it’s going to be special to go back to Philly — I’m looking forward to it,” Trout said. “When the schedule came out, these are the three games that I circled. I love coming back and seeing everybody.”

Right-hander Chase Silseth (1-1, 3.07 ERA) will make his fourth start of the season for the Angels. He is coming off a no-decision against the Toronto Blue Jays last Friday, when he allowed two runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings.

Right-hander Zach Eflin (1-4, 4.60) takes the mound for the Phillies. He was tagged for seven runs on eight hits in six innings in a Saturday loss to the New York Mets.

Neither starter has faced the other team before.

The Angels have lost eight in a row after getting swept in a doubleheader by the host New York Yankees on Thursday, 6-1 and 2-1. In the nightcap, Los Angeles didn’t manage a baserunner against Yankees starter Jameson Taillon until the eighth inning, and the Angels wound up with just two hits.

The skid is the Angels’ longest since an eight-game streak in 2019. Los Angeles hasn’t lost at least nine in a row since an 11-game slide in 2016.

–Field Level Media