October 2, 2023

That’s More Like It — Phillies Nationals Series Recap


Philadelphia Phillies' J.T. Realmuto (10) high-fives teammates after scoring on Josh Harrison's single in the second inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Saturday, June 3, 2023, in Washington. Patrick Semansky - staff, AP

The Phillies capped off a 10-game road trip by taking 2 out of 3 in our nation’s capital this weekend. It was the team’s first look at the Nationals this season after they went 16-3 against them last year.

The Phils dropped the first game of the series on Friday, 8-7, after a 6-run comeback attempt fell short. On Saturday, they bounced back and snapped a 5-game losing skid with a 4-2 victory, then followed that up with an 11-3 blowout win on Sunday afternoon.

The Phillies now sit at 27-32 on the season. They are in need of a hot streak and it would be great to see the stars get going. The Fightins showed some promising signs at Nationals Park this weekend.

Lineup Changes

Rob Thomson rolled out 3 different lineups this series in DC, as the Phils looked for a combination that could get them going in the right direction.

The left-handed heavy lineup on Friday put up 7 runs and featured Kyle Schwarber in the leadoff spot for the first time since May 6th. Schwarber would remain in the 1-hole for all 3 games and it paid off, as Kyle went 5 for 15 with a double and 2 homers in the series.

“Based on the history it should be consistent,” said Thomson after the game, speaking about batting Schwarber’s lead off. “I just like the fact that he walks, he gets on base at a fairly good rate, and he hits homers.”

Topper also moved Nick Castellanos up in the lineup for the final 2 games of the series, batting him 2nd. Castellanos has arguably been the Phils’ best player this season and his .316 batting average is good for 4th in the NL. Nicky C went 8 for 14 this weekend with 2 homers and 5 RBIs, including 4 for 9 out of the 2-hole.

With Schwarber and Castellanos both moved up, Trea Turner was dropped to 5th on Friday night and cleanup on Saturday and Sunday. While it continues to be a struggle for Turner in terms of getting hits, there are some encouraging signs for the $300 million man. Turner went just 2 for 13 this series but only struck out 3 times. Recently, Trea has been making more contact and has hit some balls hard. It should only be a matter of time until he starts driving the ball with more regularity.

JT Turning It Around?

Coming into Saturday’s game the so-called BCIB had been mired in a 3 for 43 stretch. That all changed with a 2 for 4 day which included his first homerun since April 30th.

Realmuto followed that up with another homer in his first at-bat on Sunday, as part of another multi-hit game.

JT, whose average dropped from .304 to .249 in just 14 games, finally looks like he could be headed in the right direction.

Realmuto hit the ball to all fields this weekend and hit it where it was pitched, something he had not been doing the previous 2 weeks (as you could see by his seemingly countless rollovers to shortstop).

It was around this time last year when Realmuto began to turn his season around at the plate. Although it’s a small sample size, it would be a major help to this offense if that’s what is currently happening this year.

What’s Next

The Phillies are finally back home for a 3-game set against the Detroit Tigers beginning on Monday. This will be Matt Vierling and Nick Maton’s first time back at CBP since game 5 of the World Series last year. Vierling is currently on the IL with back soreness and will not play in the series. Both he and Maton will receive their NL Championship rings before the game on Monday.

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