Phillies: Scott Kingery, Andrew McCutchen back on track

Scott Kingery #42 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Scott Kingery #42 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

After slow starts, Phillies veterans Scott Kingery and Andrew McCutchen appear to be back on track

After the Philadelphia Phillies’ Scott Kingery and Andrew McCutchen‘s slow starts to the 2020 season — in part due to their recovery battle with COVID-19 and a torn ACL, respectively — it appears both veteran players are back on track midway through the shortened 2020 season. And, both homered on Friday to help the Phillies defeat the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park for their fourth straight win.

Entering Friday’s series opener, Kingery only had seven singles, one double, no home runs, one RBI, four walks, and 16 strikeouts to his credit through 20 games and 71 plate appearances.

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Meanwhile, for McCutchen, just prior to the recent road trip against the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Atlanta Braves, and Washington Nationals, he was hitting just .192 on the season.

Now, both players appear to be heading in the right direction to be back on track.

Kingery quadrupled his season RBI total, thanks to his three-run walk-off home run in the 11th inning of the 7-4 win over the Braves. The blast handed Braves reliever Mark Melancon his first losing decision of the season, while raising his ERA to 3.38. Also, it provided Kingery his first home run of the season and second extra-base hit spanning his last seven plate appearances; he had no extra-base hits across his first 65 plate appearances.

The clutch hit was Kingery’s only plate appearance of the game, as manager Joe Girardi put him in the game as a pinch-runner for Alec Bohm to start the 10th inning. The Phillies had a prime scoring opportunity then, but ultimately capitalized an inning later thanks to the two-out walk-off home run.

McCutchen has picked things up largely since mid-August, after an uncharacteristic, sub-.200 batting average performance to start off the season.

Over his last 13 games dating back to August 14 against the New York Mets, McCutchen is batting .339 with 10 runs scored, 19 hits — three being home runs — and 14 RBI.

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The four-time Silver Slugger Award-winner’s two-run home run on Friday provided the game’s first runs, setting up Kingery’s eventual walk-off in a game started by No. 2 starter Zack Wheeler.

To reach and be successful in the postseason, it will take a team effort. It is good to see the tide start turning in the right direction for both Kingery and McCutchen; the latter player might be further along, but Kingery’s home run should give him a boost in confidence amid his otherwise underwhelming season to date.