(Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Bryce Harper isn’t making any excuses but the reality is that the rookie has been battling step throat and a fever for the past few days. The 19-year-old went 0 for 5 with two strikeouts in his first-ever playoff game on Sunday against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.

The strep throat didn’t affect his performance, he said, but he doesn’t exactly feel good. In his first at-bat, he pounced on the first pitch from Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright. By his second and third at-bats, he settled in more and worked Wainwright for seven pitches each time.

Harper said he has been taking antibiotics and already felt improvement before Monday’s afternoon game. “I’m feeling better,” he said. “Fever’s down.”